When fishes flew and forests walked
and figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
then surely I was born;
With monstrous head and sickening cry
and ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
on all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
one far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
and palms before my feet.
G K Chesterton
With the wonderful Valley of Dry Bones I just felt I had to do it. Do what you might well ask, well retell the story of the Three Little Pigs with an Ezekiel and Pentecost spin. So the Holy Spirit huffed and puffed around the three Christians threatening to bring them alive, and despite their insistence that there weren’t dead, they soon found out that there was a difference between living and being truly alive.
It was also the first year I was able to get out my new liturgical icon a wonderful glass flame.
At St Andrew’s it was surrounded by candles each signifying a member of the congregation.
While at All Saints there was plenty of other stuff going on so it sat on the altar. By the end of the service however the sun streaming through the stained glass windows had added extra flame effects.
Did you notice that ‘and’ hidden in last Sundays Gospel from Mark?
In among all those other familiar words for Easter Sunday a common word that is so easy to overlook but this time it struck me like never before in fact it was one of those moments when you suddenly actually see something that has always been there and immediately questions jumped into my head, questions that have been travelling with me this Easter week:
- why was that ‘and’ in between the disciples and Peter?
- was it that Peter was not physically in the same place as disciples?
- was it because Peter was still bitterly weeping elsewhere?
- or was it that Peter, because of his denial was no longer considered one of the disciples?
- who no longer considered him as such the women?
- the other disciples?
- the young man dressed in white?
- Peter himself?
The Common English Bible translates it as ‘especially Peter’ as if this strange young man dressed in white knew that this was news that Peter needed to know more than anyone else. Was Peter now so full of remorse for his denial that he was in danger of following Judas’ path?
One little word, so many questions, and a week later not sure I really have any answers, the pondering continues.
Does it matter who was buried here?
They were someones’ son, someones’ daughter, someones’ friend, or brother or sister, or parent, or grandparent. No it isn’t Jesus’ tomb, it is a pre-historic burial cairn in Argyll, it isn’t the tomb in which he lay on this dark day, but does that matter?
On this day a son, a friend, a hope was mourned. On this day it was if the world stood still and held its breath, not knowing what came next.
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.
Those words aren’t Mary’s, does it matter?
The soul is pierced.
I have posted a picture of this cross before, and I have also previously written about the passion-flower, however I felt that today being Good Friday I would link the two.
The Passion Flower gets its name from the Passion of Christ on the cross. The 72 radial filaments represent the Crown of Thorns. The ten petals represent the ten faithful apostles. The 3 stigma represent the 3 nails while the 5 stamens represent Christ’s wounds. There are two types of leaf on the passion-flower one is singular appearing just below a flower (there are none portrayed on this cross) and represents the spear that placed the wound in Jesus’ side, the other split in several parts is said to represent the hands of the soldiers dicing over his clothes. After a single day the petals close symbolizing Jesus enclosed in the tomb. The white petals have come to represent the purity of Jesus and the clinging tendrils the whips with which he was lashed.
What with all the Holy Week and Easter Prep and a funeral thrown in for good measure the blog has had to take a back seat again – however at the school Assembly on Friday this poem, which is new to me, was used and I thought I would share it with you. Gave me tinges when I heard it being read.
Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.
Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
Or they’d do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there’s any connection.
During Lent I have been preaching a series of sermons on the Psalms and then we have been having a discussion on a Wednesday evening about issues raised in the sermon. Last Sunday it was Psalm 19:
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Last night we had a great discussion about those laws which were around in the time of this psalm first being sung but we totally ignore and don’t even think about – such as the wearing of mixed fabrics – also why there are other laws of that time which still challenge the church so.
Trickles of water carving pathways through the sand proof that there is water, working its way around small pebbles journeying onward, ever onward.
Draw near to me, hear this!
From the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.
And now the Lord God has sent me and his spirit.
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
O that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your prosperity would have been like a river,
and your success like the waves of the sea;
your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.