The village school’s reception class is called the Butterflies, and they brought a hint of Spring to a winter’s day at the L’Arche garden.
The four and five year olds came to learn and exercise a few gardening skills, to meet some of the community and enjoy the winter sunshine. Of course, the sun shines as brightly in the village as in the city. And it’s generally quieter there, unless a tractor or chain saw is on the go. The inner ring road runs roaring past the garden so it’s never really quiet. But we, sometimes grudgingly, ignore it and so did the children, though one boy noticed the trains accelerating from the station, something he would not hear at school.
Everyone noticed the sirens as the two fire engines raced past. Drama that does not happen in the village! I looked up from my planting to see three of the girls, arms linked, dancing in a circle, chanting nee-naw, nee-naw, taking pleasure from the sounds, taking pleasure from being alive on a sunny winter’s day in the youth of the world.
And my mind’s ear remembered the blackbird who lifted a telephone warble into his song, and the thrushes and starlings who also make music of our human racket, even getting me halfway down the garden path to answer a starling’s phone call, and I thought, why not? Why not dance when the world is young, and your friends are around you, and you have a day off from routine, and so much to be grateful for? Words are not always enough.
Admiring the River from a safe distance.
In a traditionally ordered church the people symbolically face to the East, to the rising sun, symbol of Jesus the risen Lord. Today Sister Johanna leads our Advent reflection on Jesus the rising sun.
Follow the link. Dec 21 – O Oriens
I sit beneath the Oak
on a breezy summer day –
sun through the leaves,
lichen growing on the rain dark tree –
all beautiful to me.
If I’m sitting in a wheelchair,
is the beauty of the moment less?
…Or is it more?
© 2018 Christina Chase
Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash
Thank you Christina for this challenging poem. Pull no punches!
Christina has shared the beauty of her moment of personal revelation. The moment of Revelation at Pentecost was shared with the whole Church. ‘
Here is a sentence from good Pope John yesterday, which explains why I’ve put Christina’s post here. ‘May the spirit of Pentecost prevail over your families and may it unite them in that fusion of souls which was seen in the upper room where, together with the Mother of God and the Apostles, several pious women were to be found’ (Acts 1:14).
I count Christina as a modern apostle. her blog is called Divine Incarnate and can be found here.
Today Traherne’s meditation flows from the same source as Saint Francis and Pope Francis, who has taken much of his Laudato Si’! from Patriarch Bartholomew. Creation is a gift to be prized, not priced! And, after a day of walking by the sea, I reflected that everything of ours was not in its proper place; I could have filled a few litter bags with discarded plastic if I’d had my litter-picker with me. Not a problem that Traherne could have imagined.
When things are ours in their proper places, nothing is needful but prizing to enjoy them. God therefore hath made it infinitely easy to enjoy, by making everything ours, and us able so easily to prize them.
Everything is ours that serves us in its place. The Sun serves us as much as is possible, and more than we could imagine. The Clouds and Stars minister unto us, the World surrounds us with beauty, the Air refresheth us, the Sea revives the earth and us. The Earth itself is better than gold because it produceth fruits and flowers.
And therefore in the beginning, was it made manifest to be mine, because Adam alone was made to enjoy it. By making one, and not a multitude, God evidently shewed one alone to be the end of the World and every one its enjoyer. For every one may enjoy it as much as he.
Picture from FMSL
Last summer we wandered across Manchester City Centre to see crowds sitting on the grass in Piccadilly Gardens, eating lunch-time sandwiches, some in small groups, other singletons often on their phones. Perhaps they too felt the need to be sociable when eating.
And good for them all, to have taken advantage of a comparatively rare sunny day in Manchester to get out of the office or whatever their workplace, and make a picnic of it.
I was reminded of a time years ago. Muddy boots were a bone of contention at morning break where I was working. The indoor workers wanted their space to be clean and tidy. The gardeners wanted to get indoors for ten minutes, and some of them had real bother getting their boots on and off.
The boss, an office man through and through, said that he had always had a coffee brought to him at his desk, so maybe the indoor workers and the outdoor workers should sit down on the spot and take a quick refuelling break and get on with their work.
I don’t know that he ever saw the point the rest of us were arguing: it was not just a refuelling stop, but a together time. Like the coffee break I enjoyed at the Glebe this morning, with my L’Arche friends. Maybe the boss missed out on ‘milk and biscuit’ time when he was of an age to go to nursery school. Milk and sugar? Bourbon or pink wafer?
Edward Thomas died in battle on this day in 1917. He came late to poetry, as did W.H. Davies, who wrote this tribute to his friend. They were great walkers through the countryside, like these friends from L’Arche Kent. May we all walk in peace!
Happy the man whose home is still
In Nature’s green and peaceful ways;
To wake and hear the birds so loud,
That scream for joy to see the sun
Is shouldering past a sullen cloud.
And we have known those days, when we
Would wait to hear the cuckoo first;
When you and I, with thoughtful mind,
Would help a bird to hide her nest,
For fear of other hands less kind.
But thou, my friend, art lying dead:
War, with its hell-born childishness,
Has claimed thy life, with many more:
The man that loved this England well,
And never left it once before.
Did it Rain that Morning ?
How did the sun rise that morning?
Did it roar into the sky?
Did it dance, throwing its flames across the void?
Did it rain?
Surely it rained?
A penetrating April deluge,
Short, sweet, cleansing.
Penetrating like grief,
Did the wind blow?
With no-one to feel it lift the dirt, the dust,
Prepare the way.
The sun at darkness’ end.
The lightning, thunder.
Fit entrance to a forgiven world.
Fit entrance for a Prince, a Lord.
Did the birds and the creatures rejoice together?
The flowers tremble,
Their perfume astonish?
Till all ablaze,
You stepped forth
Accompanied by Angels,
And went your way, about your world.
Until the women came,
All was calm again by then,
Except that you had gone to Galilee
And left a message with an Angel.
Sister Johanna insisted, underlined and insisted, that we should publish this today. Of course she was right. Thanks, Mum! Maurice. (And it was raining on Wednesday in Holy Week at Canterbury Cathedral.)
A friend issued a personal challenge the other day: not to be one of the people who organise humanity, but one of those who humanise organisations. That, he said, was one of today’s great challenges.
Nothing new about trying to fit people into systems:
Jesus said: Woe to you lawyers also, because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear, and you yourselves touch not the packs with one of your fingers.
This spring, this Lent, let’s pray for discernment to know when a rule is man-made not God given. e Of course, our efforts won’t always be appreciated, but we don’t want to be like Dylan’s Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard, determinedly shutting out any break in the rules and routine of her life, and so shutting out joy: “before you let the sun in, mind he wipes his shoes.” (Under Milk Wood)
We are so overwhelmed, in these days, with our discoveries of omnipotence that we have little time for realizing the minute care allied with it.
We forget that the power which sets the parhelion flaming in the sunset, and calls the straying comet back from the bounds of the dark, also puts the orange underwing to sleep in her chrysalis cradle, while the flower she loves best is prepared for her.
Who can say which is the greater sign of creative power, the sun with its planet system swinging with governed impetus to some incalculable end, or the gold sallow catkin with its flashing system of little flies? Ephemera, all of them; and all utterly beyond our understanding.
And the more you know, the more you wonder … Laudato Si’!