B, Advent 1 a Jesus returns
So stay awake, because you do not known when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn. Mark 13.35
When will you return, Master, from your travels,
whom last we saw raised on a cross?
Are you dead, and all hope gone?
Are you distant and out of touch, journeying till the end of time’?
What clouds can carry you?
Must we wait forever?
Must we die, ignorant to the end?
You will wait till we no longer wait.
You will pause until we act.
When we have chosen to love,
spontaneously, in sacrifice,
without wish for return,
taking charge of our world,
at every watch of the night:
when we act like you, with a heart like yours:
then we shall see, surprised and amazed,
that you are returning in us,
not from outside,
but from within,
advancing down the halls of our heart,
doing in us what you did in signs before us, in Galilee, and
so the plan of your incarnation is fulfilled in your return.
You will have returned
because we have come to love,
turning from all resentments and cravings,
turning to all mankind and to all the creatures of sea and air,
doing good because it is good,
masters in freedom.
Freedom comes from you
who are beyond the world and
coming into the world,
and in my own freedom
I shall recognise my master who is in me,
returned to me, within me,
claiming me as his own and
we shall rejoice at last.
B, Advent 1 b Jesus is Lord
It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. Mark 13.34
Wave upon wave of admiration swept down upon you, Lord,
from your Father who spoke you.
You know his pleasure and
you know, in all truth, your own worth.
To your own self you say ‘Yes’,
because he first assented to you.
To you he now says: ‘You are my God-from-God’,
and he worships you.
Your heart swells and
you choose the One of grace,
breathing Spirit forth and breathing Spirit in,
gift upon gift.
For you he has unfolded this myriad cosmos, Master of the House,
the domain where you walk.
a fragile palace of living things,
where you can be Truth,
where you can die for love, O Lamb of God!,
Lord before him who is all and
Lord before what is nothing.
You are Lord because you leave us be,
leaving open before us the wide vistas of your Spirit,
trusting us, giving us our freedom, and
you are returned in us
who are as you,
B, Advent 2 a Christ and the Angels
Look. I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way. Mark 1.2
Who knows what worlds our Father has created?
Who will say what he has not done?
There is no limit to his fathering
who fathered you, Jesus, Lord of angels, from the start.
All his acts bear the trace of his hands:
in the glancing light of the groves and
at the rumbling of thunder
we tremble with awe.
They are sacred messengers of his glory,
the outer courts of your body,
Jesus, Lord of the worlds.
And the prophets of every age and place, speak of you,
words of consolation, words of doom,
messengers preparing for you, our Truth,
who will come among us and
tell our happiness.
How many sparks have fallen to earth?
forerunners of the eternal Fire,
spirits reflecting the Spirit,
delicate and evanescent as the eddying wind,
intangible and beyond speculation,
as the pillars of fire, leading to you, Promised Lord.
Messengers of God, angels, endless in variety,
they lead us to words and to the Word,
who sends the one Spirit from Heaven.
As we are to you, Lord Jesus,
so are the angels to the Spirit.
As the Spirit presides at the beginnings of things,
so the angels were manifest at your birth and at your resurrection.
As you give us the Spirit of holiness,
so you give us the angels, as guardians,
and already they bring us joy
as we hear the beating of their wings.
B, Advent 2 b Jesus the Messiah
Someone is following me, someone ‘Who is more powerful than I am and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. Mark 1.8
As they cried in their darkness,
longing to be free of the Roman yoke,
wanting rest from their dilemmas,
seeking at last to be holy, cleansed of sin,
you came to them, Word of God,
beyond their wildest hopes,
surprisingly at Bethlehem,
not a mighty warrior, like David,
but a child conceived virginally.
We will worship God in Jewish flesh and
all mankind will bow before the King of the Jews,
pouring out the Spirit on all mankind.
My hopes are not yet satisfied.
You have redeemed us, I know, and
in my heart you have place a love that astounds me.
I hope one day
that this Love will see the light, and
that the Word in me might be said
that the Energy in me will bear fruit.
When will that day come?
Not in my time but in our time, Lord Jesus,
on that great Day of your return,
for it is in the whole Body of Christ that I place my hope.
On that day our hopes will be fulfilled
all our hopes ringing through all their changes,
eternally, a glorious sight,
and we shall be saved.
B, Advent 3 a John recognizes Jesus.
I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord. John 1.23
There, in the silence of the desert,
John listened to your whisperings.
Away from the clatter of the bazaars
the Baptist was drawn to another music.
for already you spoke to him
Jesus, our Word:
In the Mantra John was made.
In mantras Moses spoke in the Law.
Ah! how he longed to utter what he had heard.
And the times come!
He opens his mouth, out in the wilderness,
a Voice to proclaim the Word.
How could he not recognise you as you came by, walking,
like to like, heart to heart, mind to mind,
a Voice recognising its Word.
Where shall I see you today,
Are you absent, aloof, imaginary?
Where is your voice, Jesus, risen from the dead?
Ah! The music of your voice captivates me.
The impulse of your words staggers me.
I recognise you speaking in me,
such joy wells from me.
You have taken possession of me.
Let me say you,
speaking hope to the poor.
I cannot keep silent.
uttering, not an idea, not an object
not in words apart from your Word but
in my being:
you will have returned in me
expressed once again on the face of the earth and
Ah! I will have become your statement,
Word of God.
B, Advent 3
B, Advent 3 b John and Jesus
John replied: ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal strap.’ John 1.26-27
From his youth John had lived in the wilderness,
renewing the purity of Israel’s youth.
He observed the Law to its perfection and
now it can be put aside.
It had done its task and
could achieve no more.
Now that this peak had been climbed,
Jesus, you had to climb to heaven itself.
Mary’s flesh had been inspired in purity
to provide you with flesh.
John observed the First Covenant in its totality and
cleared the way for the Last Covenant.
He was born of woman but you are born from heave;
He spoke in the wilderness but you sanctified the home
He lived in the desert but you were cast of out of the City.
He wore camel hair but you were exposed naked on the cross
He died for the Law but you died for our freedom
This is not Elijah,
nor the prophet like Moses
but more than these:
Here is the Voice for the Word.
B, Advent 4 a “The … Spirit will … cover you”
‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High ‘will cover you with its shadow.’ Luke 1.35a
From the start, you were inspired, Mary:
at your conception the Spirit hovered over you and
the Gospel was made:
body and soul this girl is destined;
this fertilised egg will bear the Son.
When your blood began to flow,
the power of the Most High came upon you:
the secret Gift between Father and Son,
the Conspiracy of Father and Son,
the One whom Both love,
this final God is given to you,
changing, inspiring, empowering, exciting, enlivening, affecting,
welling from within, overshadowing from above,
Heart given in the heart,
the Womb of God merging with the womb of mankind.
Your womb is powerful Mary,
drawing to itself the best of seed,
deep calling on the Deep,
without divided loyalties, virginal,
given to no man, open to all.
Therefore you are the woman we can all approach.
You are the one who draws us all together.
We surround you with the Spirit poured on all mankind.
There is a new overshadowing, yet to come.
Let the Spirit come from us.
May we be good news to you.
Mary, give the world its second birth!
B, Advent 4 b Mary the Virgin
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me. ‘ Luke 1.38
You are entirely the work of grace, Mary,
formed in freedom and inspired.
You set up no idols, no pretence, and
make no claims, open, ready, entirely virgin,
embodying the silent plea of all mankind.
Heaven is shaken and
turns away from the generations of men to you the Woman.
Heaven is powerless to resist and
starts at the sight of you and
gives in to you and
offers its all, all to you.
Therefore you decide: and
as once the Voice said ‘Fiat lux’ and all was made
now you say ‘Fiat’ and we are saved.
Here is paradox:
weakness is strength,
nothing commands all,
the end initiates.
So it was in eternity:
the proceeding Spirit draws the Godhead to act,
the Third founds the First.
Where did you come from Mary?
What is your secret, beyond our categories, our understanding?
God himself submits to you, Mother of God and
the Word is made from your flesh.
All women are in you and every femininity.
Show me what I can give to you,
– Virgin of all, because owned by none –
and together we shall form the new heavens and the new earth.
B, Christmas, Midnight “For us”
Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2.11
The wells of salvation are opened, and
from within there rises the unfailing stream,
To you I say yes,
in you I believe,
to you I surrender
far from the systems of the law, the theologies, the rubrics.
This is the joy hidden in all the world from the beginning.
It is the rediscovery of childhood,
I am made young again and
I have become again a child, converted,
leaving aside the sin of all the ages,
holding out my arms and again crying out ‘Abba’,
because you became a child among us,
naked, powerless, given to all and
we are drawn to you and
become the Child before us,
without violence, happy to be with us
even when again you will hang naked and powerless,
exposed and drawing all mankind to yourself.
B, Christmas, Dawn Jesus’ consciousness
When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him …. Luke 2.17
How shall we understand your mind, Lord Jesus,
when we hardly know our own?
Did you know you were God
as you lay sleeping on the straw?
Did you know the secrets of the future,
When did you name your God and know yourself?
Yet no man spoke like you.
What signs you worked and still we are stunned,
never tiring of you!
Who are you? What do you know?
for at that moment,
when you opened your mouth, in joy,
you knew the mind of God and your mind;
at the moment of inspired speech,
when all the riches of heaven and earth came together and
when in a word you said all our words, ‘ Happy’,
you began the message of salvation,
taking the initiative, opening the heavens,
because, from the beginning,
you are with the Primal Person,
Even as the child,
wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger,
you expressed the gospel in acts,
knowing, as the infant knows, who you are,
before words were taught to you.
When we too are inspired and speak the happiness
we too shall know your mind and
shall know that you know all we struggle to describe and
that on the cross, in your abandonment,
you know, as only those in agony can known,
that you are from the Holy One
and are returning to the One you never left.
B, Epiphany The Temple
……… they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward and halted over the place where the child was. Matthew 2.9b
They left their land.
They left Jerusalem.
They forgot the star that led them and
came to the Mother and Child and
here they worship.
Temple, incense, chants, liturgy,
all have served their purpose and
had their day, superseded.
The body of a child is where they worship.
Jesus, what a child you were! available to all, everyone’s child.
To you the world can come and feel at home.
Here is joy and hope and affection,
without rivalry or contest.
You stretch out your arms and take us to yourself, little Boy,
gathering us to the inner sanctum of your heart,
teaching us, with your gestures, that all will be well,
giving us your smile and a blessing no sacrifice can bring.
And so we too are a temple:
gathering all mankind to ourselves,
body made Spirit,
words made flesh,
more fleshly by being more spiritual,
more spiritual by inhabiting our flesh
outpouring our bodies,
our bodies available to each other,
one Body one Spirit.
B, Lent 2 a Jesus the Man
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured. Mark 9.2
You are the once and future man – Second Adam –
as you stand upon the mountain,
streaming with light,
author of life, unafraid of death,
companion of Heaven and journeying to hell,
entering into all our pain,
despoiling the Despoiler.
Behold, you take us, freely, to yourself.
I see you with inspired eyes,
as you draw me to yourself, confirming me.
I become what I see, and
I see what I am:
flesh made light,
flesh made Word and
from me worlds new and old proceed.
You have made me, 0 companion of my life.
We move in each other, marvellously.
not concerned with survival of the fittest,
indifferent to class or wage,
concerned with more than reason and measurement,
not wishing to conquer and possess,
but standing as the new humanity
taking all the earth and
projecting the Spirit
who, from her being, in delight,
in passion and tranquillity,
cries out the whole new world
B, Lent 2 b Jesus the Lamb
And a cloud came. covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him’. Mark 9.7
Here is the proof,
that you are the unblemished Lamb -:
you wanted to be with us,
not holding back, unconcerned with your own security,
not selfish, not just dutiful,
wishing to be with us in all our weakness,
because in you,
– Chosen One, author and destiny of all life –
there is health, exhiliration,
dwelling joyfully in the heart of the Father and
breathing forth gladly the Heart of God, and
your clothes are dazzling;
mighty warrior, enjoying the battle,
– Christ overcoming all the anti-Christs –
as you enter into sin and
no longer display your glory,
diving deep beyond death,
your body drawn to our body,
your mind taking on our confusion,
showing that our sin is of no concern and
from our flesh you draw, magnificently, the Spirit
Therefore, you are our Redeemer.
B, Lent 3 a Jesus exorcises
Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market. John 2.15-16
Enter my temple once again, Lord,
come into my body and
into the inner recesses of my heart and
of my sorry memories,
the abusing and the abuse,
cast them all out
for I was holy at the start and built by God
but the ravens have nested in me – birds of the night –
and have sullied the sanctuary.
In your zeal for me,
drive fresh air down the corridors of my soul.
In my every breath
pour the incense of your prayer and
calm my distracted heart.
Exorcise me with the power of your music;
resound in me by the mantra I utter,
– for you occupy every mantra –
and raise me up with every repetition
as with a word you called Lazarus, your friend, from his tomb.
Make me once again clear and effective,
your sanctuary, the place of praise
where every sound
will speak of you, the Word,
spoken by the Father,
as was intended from the start.
B, Lent 3 b Jesus restores
Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up.’ John 2.19
Against all the sins you explode in anger, in grace,
The pollutions provoke your entry into the Temple,
angel of God.
You are the stronger,
you are free.
Suddenly you act in me
restoring me by the three days of your passion
and gladly I surrender.
I had lost my way and my self.
I had been misled, deformed.
Take me back to the beginning, to the early days,
back to when I was chosen before all ages.
Take me out of Egypt.
Take me, beyond all the chatter of our age,
into the silence,
there in the desert, at the start.
Breathe into me again, dead upon on the ground, the breath of life.
Enliven me so that I am again whole, entire,
at one with you and all creation,
reconciled, again at the origin.
More than that!
Breathe in me the Breath of Easter.
I restore myself by this Spirit – the greater work not made by human hands,
and from me all flows,
and all is held together,
the heavens as well as earth.
B, Lent 4 a Jesus regenerates
Yes. God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone ‘who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. John 3.16
The fire has raged and devoured and then spent itself
– it cannot last –
and upon the ground lies the seed
cracked open in the torment,
till the gentle fall of rain wakens the hidden fruit.
You came among us
to be broken open and
spill life into our barren earth.
Come to me, in your immense pity:
for the raging fire served only to evoke your compassion.
You are the seed in our cracked earth.
Enter every patch of ground and
impart your dying and living.
You are in me,
more real to me than I am to myself,
diverse from me,
felt in the subtle contrasts of our breath,
transfiguring me from within,
– my Perfect friend – and
by pure love I achieve, in ways unexpected,
claiming all the earth,
B, Lent 4 b Jesus redeems
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world but so that through him the world might be saved. John 3.17
You came searching among the rubbish, the debris of our lives,
not afraid to dirty your hands and
you lifted us in your arms
wishing to see the light in our eyes,
the dawning smile of hope and
the look of peace stealing over our face
more pleasing than the dawn.
There can be no despair.
I am not alone
because you stooped down to me and
suffered more than I ever can,
for my sake being lifted on the cross.
but would that one of your servants
should come into the mess of my life,
my wasted years, my inconsequence and
clear me a place on the face of the earth and
let me do a work worthy of you, Redeemer of mankind, and
become to someone a saviour.
Since no one has loved me,
– I have wanted to love without reward or motive –
I will love by the love you had for me,
You redeemed me so I might be a redeemer.
Your work is justified and
you are proven and
your name is redeemed among mankind,
saved from opprobrium and
you become indeed our Lord and our God.
B, Lent 5 a Jesus’ compassion
I tell you most solemnly, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. John 12. 24
Your could not remain aloof, happy Word,
nor unsaid in our dumbness.
Your voice reaches from end to end and
to us you bent down
because we needed to hear your sweet whisperings.
Any chance of converse called your words from heaven
as any smouldering ignited your flame and
any possibility of catching light compelled your fire out from heaven.
So you concealed yourself,
becoming more subtle, more ordinary,
more obscure so as not to frighten us,
taking on our human flesh and
speaking to us in time, in the language of one place,
talking as friend to friend:
you who fill the universe,
able to slip into the heart unobserved and
there expand and
arouse to joy
in the power of your mighty song.
You came into the confusion of our tongues and our warring words,
the ancient cursing.
You loved the unlovely and
had faith in the faithless.
What sleight of hand!
What feat of strength!
In your mercy do not judge me
for I condemn myself without reprieve;
but have mercy and help me.
Ignore my sin and inspire my capacities,
encourage, show how,
teach me to speak and
I will make all things new in a new song.
B, Lent 5 b Jesus’ sacrifice
Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour. John 12.27
From the Father you are spoken, utterly and
he lets you be God
and as you breathe your all,
the Spirit proceeds:
the Third, discreet, available, unimposing: God;
for sacrifice is at the heart of our Trinity.
You came to endure our limitations,
the confinement of matter,
knowing our pain and our sin,
every sense assailed,
quivering with fear and shame,
making all our pain holy.
Broken, you burst our bonds and
dead, you allow matter to attain the freedom of God,
entirely inspired, consecrated and holy.
This heart and
every heart of matter is our God.
Your arms were stretched out to reach from end to end,
feet nailed so you could pass through all our walls and
become our intimate, my other self,
confirming me and consecrating.
We submit to you and
your power floods in us.
We worship your cross.
B, Passion Sunday The flesh
The centurion, who was standing in front of him, had seen how he had died, and he said, ‘In truth this man was a son of God’. Mark 15:39
You spoke as no man has spoken,
penetrating, beautiful, resolving our dilemmas,
words of power and mercy,
entirely within your words, 0 Word,
showing the One who is Light, O Word of God:
so they mocked you on the cross, and
stopped your mouth with cries of pain
which only speak to us utterly of God
dwelling in darkness.
Your hand reached out to calm the storm,
touching the leper and raising the dead,
for your flesh draws our flesh and
your presence casts out demons:
so they placed the nails against your wrists and
stretched out your arms
to embrace all the scattered tribes.
You promised fire from heaven and
the wind of the Spirit announcing our future:
so they exposed you to view,
reduced to stone in your nakedness.
You endured the torment with dignity and peace,
not begging for mercy or trying to save your skin
even in agony responding with familiar grace
till you breathed your Spiri t upon the world
victorious at last.
Here is the man for all mankind,
the leader whom I will follow,
the teacher to whom I will give my mind and
allow to rebuild me.
B, Holy Thursday The blood
In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. I Corinthians 11.25a
Pour out your blood, Saviour of mankind.
In great streams pour out your blood on this world and cleanse us
for only in blood can there be life; and
become for us a Victim
for we perish through lack of love.
Only blood can satisfy us and
we need shed no more blood,
becoming of one flesh and blood in you;
your blood coursing in our veins,
drunk deep in the eucharistic cup.
But how shall I shed my blood
in the shady suburbs and this wide brown land?
except by the slow martyrdom of time and sweat.
This shall be given for you, given for all,
adding to the remission of sins,
the eternal covenant made new in each new shedding of blood.
In this modem martyrdom
I shall become true, real at last,
consecrated and sanctifying.
B, Easter 2 Jesus, the Victim
He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were tilled with joy when they saw the Lord, John 20.21
‘Let all the bitterness of mankind, the blame for all misdeeds,
all the angers and resentments, past and future,
fall on me;
the revenge for every seeming unconcern of God,
the pay-back for the pains of life and the disappointed hopes,
be placed on my head;
the worst crimes, the horrors,
the long history of cruelty and injustice,
do their worst in me.
Bring me to death,
to terrors impossible before and impossible since.
Tear me apart and rend me asunder,
pouring out my blood.
Let me show my hands and the holes they dug and
you will rejoice with a joy impossible before,
the joy which never left me,
the strength which streams out from me,
because I am with Him always
who is endlessly fathering.
Only the pure can take on impurity and
only the innocent can endure the guilt,
unblinking, fearless, realistic,
only the clean can cleanse,
only blood can cleanse from blood,
from these hands and this side.
There will be no blame.
You will be convinced at last of love.
in the wounded side and
in the life-blood that springs from thence,
in the good and evil, for
it is the sacrifice.’
B, Easter 3 a Witness
So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead .… You are witnesses to this. Luke 24.46, 48
You have appeared to me,
not in an upper room
but in the chamber of my inmost heart
and here you have spoken,
not in words for the ear
but in leaps of the heart,
and I seek, freely, death and resurrection.
It is our conspiracy.
For where you are there is the impulse towards Easter,
to Iive once again this moment of exhilaration,
an eternal return.
I am witness to myself and to you,
to yourself in me,
for your life is mine and mine is yours.
It is right thus;
it was written ever thus
in the destiny of our race.
You are alive in your Church, and
we are witnesses, without compulsion,
not to a person without or to events done in time past
but, by our own agenda, to oursel ves and to you
– are we not one body?
in an eternal Easter.
B, Easter 3 b Theology
He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures …. Luke 24.45
Where are you,
where do you speak,
Jesus risen from the dead!
for your voice seems silent and
I cannot hear the familiar accents.
We feel bereft and our spirits fail.
You are the words of our dialogue and
now we no longer speak to each other and
hearts break without your one heart
as each goes their own way, like lost sheep,
Where is your God?
Shall not the new surpass the old?
You will spring from among the dead, as always.
When we shall love because it is good to love and
give without hope of reward and
when we walk our via dolorosa as if you had never gone that way and
mount our cross, faithfully,
then we shall hear you in us:
speaking words of peace,
showing us your hands and your side.
We shall understand indeed that all belongs to this moment and
we shall no longer write tomes
but be led, in silence and in eternal music,
to sing the one Word
come again amongst us and
our hearts will burn with your fire.
B, Easter 6 Fidelity
If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. John 15:10
You do not have faith in your Father, Jesus,
for you and he are one.
Nor do I wish to have faith in you:
simply ‘I am’ and
this is nought else but you,
for you are me and I am you:
you and I are one.
I refuse the journey of faith
if it means that I have been unfaithful.
I shall run fast along the way
if, from the start, I am not divided from You.
I am not faithful to you
as if you were outside of me, over there,
nor as if fidelity supposed a separat:J.on
– this I could not bear – but
we have existed from the beginning in your freedom and
we have been chosen in you from before .time began.
Adam’s sin and
the sin of the world and
my own sin,
– these I repudiate from the start.
Have we not been reborn from above:
therefore, are we not eternal,
without beginning or end?
I am baptised because already,
by the hidden impulse of the Spirit,
I am from above.
My act of faith is the expression in time of our union from the start.
Let me sing of our union,
demonstrating its power,
living our mutual trust in words and works,
dead to self and alive to Self.
Therefore I do not pray to you
but do as you would do;
I do not proclaim you
but make the Covenant anew.
B, Ascension a Jesus withdraws
And so, the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place ….. Mark 16:19
You give us space, Lord Jesus,
as you rise from the earth
and the whole world opens up before us.
You give us our freedom, Master,
as you remove into silence,
– for you trust us.
As once your Father,
– who spoke you and worshipped you –
presented to you the vast horizons of the Spirit
which you could fill with Breath,
delighting to emit and possess the Spirit:
So now you allow us
to breathe the Spirit on the earth and
bless all mankind.
They thought to damn you on the cross
but you were raised to the heights.
They wished to eliminate you from the earth
but everyone speaks of you.
They rejected you from their story
but you ascend:
– visible nowhere, seen everywhere.
If you did not go
how could we breathe freely?
Your faith in us awakens faith
and the power to move mountains.
Your confidence in us gives us authority
as we take the world to ourselves.
B, Ascension b Jesus abides
….. while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16.20
You have been taken from our sight
but you are not absent, Lord of the caves.
You have finished working from outside;
now you work from within:
ou are the Word in our words,
you breathe the Spirit in our spirits,
empowering us, allowing us,
encouraging us, penetrating;
your mind is in the mind of the Church,
our bodies are received into your Body.
You ascend so as to go everywhere,
present to every time and season,
not located in Jerusalem or Rome or Washington;
everywhere we can call upon you and know you,
carrying you in the tabernacle of the heart,
within ourselves, – be it in prison –
ntimate with you in solitude,
at home with us, as we are at ease with you,
heart abiding in heart.
B, Pentecost a Wisdom
When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. John 15.26
The books gather dust and
the data-banks overwhelm me:
the volume of information rises as a wall
and I am filled with anguish:
how shall I touch the distant stars and fin all times.
Word of God, free me from my errors and the weight of thoughts.
Let me go beyond words to you the Word
who express bodily the whole being of God
and in you I shall come to Wisdom.
From the Word, you spring, Wisdom,
true to the Word and proceeding from the Word.
In you the Word delights, in your my-serious grace/our balance, and
the whole energy of the Word is channelled by you
Ruler of the Light
for you know the end of things.
To you all shall come and
to yourself you lead all actions,
giving birth to right action, rightly chosen, at the right time.
Come to me, Wisdom of the Word of God.
B, Pentecost b Charisms
But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, John 16.13a
Where have you touched me?
for power comes out of you, Jesus to heal me.
Do you strike at the very base of my being,
to make me trustworthy,
the rock on which to build the vast array of your Church?
Do you inspire me in my manhood,
to make the waters flow,
giving life to all I touch?
Have you placed fire in my stomach,
giving me courage to take the world to myself and
recast it in your fire?
Have you touched my heart,
the secret place of love,
where the future world might resound?
Is it in my throat your power comes,
to give me words of power,
creating and recreating with a sound?
Is it in my mind, –
to plant wisdom and counsel and
the secret knowledge of your plans?
Do you pour down on my head the full force of your Spirit and
– marvel upon marvel –
I live already in the communion of the end?
Where have you set me ablaze?
Where, in me, does heaven unlock and the Spirit descend.
Where in me is my Pentecost?
Tell me and
I will sing a new song.
B, Corpus Christi a “Do this in memory of me”
This is my blood, the blood of the covenant which is to be poured out for many. Mark 14.24
take me from this edge of time, this dry littoral
to the vortex, the heart of time.
Take me out of this dryness
to the cup of blood,
the moment of covenant,
when all is connnected,
the hour which holds all times.
Down through the ages,
the memory of
when first you held the cup and
proclaimed the covenant in your blood,
that powerful dream,
the story of our human hope
takes me to itself,
changing me by the power of its truth.
I drink of that cup so long ago,
as I drink of this one on the altar.
Let the elixir pour into my mouth and
the divine ambrosia flow into me,
your blood mingling in mine.
So now it is I your priest, your high-priest
who now declare for myself,
– is not the covenant forever new,
not repeated, without nostalgia,
made anew from myself,
being who you are and
you being who I am –
and you are come from out of eternity and
you are present again
for I am here.
B, Corpus Christi b maranatha, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’
I tell you solemnly I will not drink any wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God. Mark 14.25
You have done with all our banquets of time.
All the passovers are done.
You put aside all the goblets of our world,
by your vow withdrawing into death
and foretelling a new wine,
the best kept till last.
Give me that wine,
let me drink deep and
become drunk with your Spirit,
walking with another step,
with a new mind,
my tongue loosed,
singing your music.
Let this wine unbind the knots and
release the springs of life in me.
Come with all your power and inhabit me,
fire me with your blood and
give me heart
to be myself and you.
We are one:
yourself and myself: only one Self.
B, Sunday 11 a Gestation
Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Mark 4.27
You are still coming to birth, Lord Jesus,
you, the sound in whom all things are said,
seed once fallen on the earth,
appearing for a while among us,
then hiding in the rock.
You are spreading among us,
How do you do this?
Word of God, Man among us,
Risen from the dead, with every freedom?
You change us
– not from without,
for we do not look back
nor imagine the past as you walked the earth.
Your words are not outside us,
nor is your body.
Neither do our theologies contain you
nor does our ritual exhaust you.
Stripped of every thought,
true to truth, and justice,
attentive to the best Impulse,
suddenly, surprisingly, you are there in me
– it is the harvest grown and –
I in you, and
you have become my other self, companion, equal.
It has been the long gestation,
the great swelling
as I take on your character and
achieve your concern for all things,
here in this garden of ours.
B, Sunday 11 b Natural
Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. Mark 4.28
All things spring from you, Word of God,
sacred, true, hopeful,
words capable of receiving the Word.
The sprouting shoot covers the earth with its green and
your people spring as the ear of wheat.
You yourself are the full grain come to ripeness, Lord Jesus
and we are the crop ready for harvest:
For we grow naturally, in your good time,
and every increase is a sign of you word.
We do no fear our nature or our instincts.
We are not hopelessly corrupt.
We do not oppose what is new
nor force things to our passions.
We look forward to your sleights of hand and
we admire your mystery in our routine.
What springs from the Word
is transfigured by the Word.
When all is quiet and in harmony
then the Spirit descends and sanctifies.
The windows open and our souls take flight and
we come to your Father’s side.
B, Sunday 12 a Jesus is the prototype
They were filled with awe and said to one another,‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him. ‘ Mark 4.41
The winds and the seas obey you
for they recognise their Master,
– Word of God! –
from whose sound all creation pours into being and
in whom all come to calm,
the calm of that day
when all is reconciled in you.
When you died, all died,
when your rose, all rise with regard to you.
Death itself will obey you
and the tempests will heed you at the last
standing above the tomb and
bringing us to that silence which is purest music.
As you stand there, at the centre,
Perfect Man of power and authority
holding all things in your love,
but contained nowhere
the Spirit has lead me to you, and
I stand by you, my companion, my similar, and
Have we not one Father,
does not one Spirit swirl in us?
You let me be myself and
greater than myself,
symbol of you,
transparent of our God.
B, Sunday 12 b Jesus contains all
And he … rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ Mark 4.39b
Our arms stretch wide and
embrace the world
as you did on the lake,
holding your hands to the wind and the spray.
Nothing is foreign to us,
– do the stars care for the stars? –
and we touch all things,
sensing from within, everywhere,
O Jesus who are God and Man,
knowing all, enduring all.
We touch the heavens with our prayer.
To us is give the power to say ‘Be’ or ‘Be not’:
for everything is given into our care and
we form the future as putty in our hands.
Are we not your image,
Son of God?
With all our faculties intact, whole, sound of limb,
true of heart, free, reasonable, enlivened in every nerve,
we contain heaven and earth within ourselves,
at the beginning and at the end:
because you hold us,
Alpha-Omega, the Man.
You have given us hearts wide as the sea and
as we open out breasts to contain all,
the clouds clear and
we rise into the vast expanse of your Father’s heart.
B, Sunday 13 a Jesus is medicine
Do come and lay your hands on her and make her better. Mark 5.23b
He is my God,
from ancient, times,
from the beginning
– nothing else could I endure –
destined to him, chosen by him.
Therefore I recognise you, Lord Jesus, of one origin with me:
we belong to each other.
How perfectly you stand, sent,
masterly, choosing all times.
You recognise me, surely, and
your approval confirms me,
despite my inconsequence.
make me what I am.
Other doctors have made us worse
with false medicine and false advice
not seeing our needs but only their cures.
You comfort and console and take us in charge.
With your body strengthen us,
body incarnate, destined to death,
risen and available everywhere,
known from within,
body known by body:
so that we are a communion of bodies.
I put out my hand:
Touch me and
let your power raise me from my death.
B, Sunday 13 b Encouragement
Immediately aware that power had gone out from him ….. Mark 5.30a
Your Father, primarily,
has chosen me and
taken me to himself and
you, the Second,
you concur with him and
second his choice:
you do not stand in my way
He loves you above all
but loves me – if it were possible – without you,
not only because of you but
because he is generous to all his children.
He is the God of our ancestors and
with them I form one tribe and
with you one body
since he is first your God.
You recognise us, Lord Jesus and
claim us and complete us and
encourage us and second us.
To us you give your power.
To you we give ourselves
taking on your flesh, becoming one body,
knowing your mind and becoming one truth,
impelled by your Spirit and becoming one Fire,
blazing, devouring the world.
Together we conspire,
breathing forth the Spirit and the worlds and
taking the Spirit and all to ourselves
so that in the end there is Love.
B, Sunday 14 a Jesus is transcendent
They said: Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? Mark 6.2b
No man can claim you as heir,
no law explain you.
First and foremost you are of the Most High,
never separated from him
nor absent from his side.
You come freely, unexpected,
without compulsion, original.
You come willingly,
transcending what you choose,
coming with delight, playfully,
to our human race, to your village, your family and
you take on their flesh and their customs:
with us you are free, never unwilling.
You are from above and
give your life every meaning,
your flesh transparent, transcendent,
symbol, sacrament of God.
You choose your flesh,
shedding your blood in covenant,
giving your body as food.
Already you know the joy that lies ahead,
because you live beyond time and
you call us to the secret place of joy.
You touch us powerfully with you flesh.
Your body takes our body and makes us Spirit.
You move on, essentially free and
lead us to the Most High.
B, Sunday 14 b Jesus is sacred
This is the carpenter surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us? And they would not accept him. Mark 6.3
Their stolid faces, hard as flint
their hands gnarled, unimaginative.
You come to them and
away from the securities of village life,
the crushing succession of generation and tradition
and they fear you.
You are found easiest,
at the edge of things, at the entrance of the cave,
at the centre, where the path leads through the sea,
in the balance of things
for you are the junction of death and life, heaven and earth,
standing at the opening of the tomb.
hanging between heaven and earth,
hovering between life and death – contradicted –
here is the supreme power,
the fountainhead of grace.
You cannot be reduced to our purposes and thoughts.
You exceed us and draw us onwards and
we follow your surprising paths;
we take on your story and your will,
and all becomes sacred.
You show us the face of the Invisible
who loves us utterly,
before whom we tremble with freedom and amazed delight
as we find pleasure in everything.
B, Sunday 16 a Exaltation
So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. Mark 6.32
You entered your rest,
rising beyond all places
to be alone with the One, and
now you rest in perfect activity,
– resting in your work,
working in your rest –
present to your Father’s love.
All is done and all is said.
You rested on the cross,
that place of abandonment,
in utter frustration and perfect sign,
saving us, revealing the ineffable.
All else has failed but One has not.
All has proved useless,
but he has come to your aid,
raising you, exalting you.
Your body is made available to me,
flesh offered, exalted,
drawing all to itself
relaxing my sinews,
healing my weariness,
on your flesh and blood I feed,
so that there will be one Risen Body.
Is it yours? Is it mine?
I feel in my own flesh
the exaltation of your flesh ascending and
with you I rise and
find my rest.
B, Sunday 16 b Transformation
So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. Mark 6.34
What horror at the crucifixion of the Good.
We stand aghast at our capacity for evil.
Yet you have chosen this, Just One;
what beauty attracts us, such kindness.
We hurry towards you,
leaving our towns and we wait.
Turn to us and speak to us,
not with words but with your silent mind,
without handling, touch us,
strike our person with your person,
your whole body speaking to our whole body,
address us and be present to us.
Bewilder us again, amaze us and
teach us the mysteries
– 0 Sent of God ! –
hidden since time began
known only in eternity.
Our mouths will sing a new song and
our heart will guide our hands and
our hands mould the world
till all becomes sign,
sign evoking sign and
all in transformed into Presence,
all made all to all.
B, Sunday 24 a Commitment
Anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. Mark 8.35b
Your Father is generous.
Are you not the complete expression of his being?
In you he has done what is utterly good.
He looked upon you and
knew indeed he had done all well, and
allowed you to be his God.
With you he wished to conspire to do the best
to express the Spirit, the last outpouring.
With them, in a Trio,
you speak our world,
the finite, the unreal, generous in time, fruitful,
and draw us into your presence,
the rainbow of your Light.
You cannot imagine evil.
It does not enter your mind
– although its barbs pierce your flesh and
you are overwhelmed with the horror –
for you are good and do good.
Our hearts are filled with you and
the freedom of your Spirit inspires us.
We act as we will,
with no weakness to do evil,
acting beyond rule and custom,
finished with the wavering heart,
bored with self-gratification,
and the insecure choice.
We spontaneously do the good,
and bring our world to birth.
B, Sunday 24 b Fear
Then taking him aside. Peter started to remonstrate with him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’ Mark 8.32b-33
You lead us through the darkness,
– Shepherd of our souls –
and in a daze we follow you
who looked at the face of fear and
chose to ascend your cross,
losing all power and
obtaining authority over heaven! and earth,
Crucified and Lord:
and we fear.
How easy, how compelling,
to turn back to the leeks, the onions, the garlic of our Egypt,
concealing our fears
as we ravenously, sadly, consume.
But you strip us, awesome Lord,
of our lives, our good name,
our loves, our pleasures, and
we set out behind you.
Lead us through the dark night,
strengthen our trembling hands.
Test us with fire, with the crisis of faith,
with dilemmas of the heart, with puzzles to confuse
then we shall not fear judgment day
nor your look as you turn around.
At the end of our journey
greet us with a familiar smile
for we have become you.