WHO AM I?

dietrich_bonhoeffer

TWELVE AROUND TABLE this morning, as of long ago, gathered for burning bush encounter the rabbi said all could and should know. With genius insistence on open hospitality, Jesus gathered people around – thankfully, eucharistically, speaking of God in the midst of them, in-their-flesh, in 'adamah, earthed and in touch, breathing ruach, God-breath, communion, in and through and for and all around them – in and on and of Genesis ground.

There are times, many times, when it seems that God's message for all of us is, as Fr Richard Rohr often reminds us: “Don't get rid of the pain until you have learned its lessons.” Hard though it be for us to grasp, desperately disinclined to undergo it, brokenness heals us into wholeness.

Unfortunately, Fr Richard goes on to reflect, “we have the natural instinct to fix pain, to control it, or even, foolishly, to try to understand it. The ego always insists on understanding. That’s why Jesus praises a certain quality even more than love, and he calls it faith. It is the ability to stand in liminal space, to stand on the threshold, to hold the contraries, until you move to a deeper level where it all eventually makes sense in the great scheme of God and grace.” (Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered)

1-DSCF3127

And, of course, some of us have no other choice available to us than lonely grace and space into which to speak our prayers and our questions. For some, some of the time, as for Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred in 1945, there's no other option available. But the life and witness of this pastor called our attention to the Jesus who calls people to round table, to pray and to stay and to question together – breathing the life of communion: a higher, lower, deeper, broader, wider dispensation, the kingdom of heaven.

WHO AM I? – Bonhoeffer asked … Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

Annunciation2014

WHO AM I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a Squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders freely and friendly and clearly, as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune equally, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds, thirsting for words of kindness, for neighbourliness, tossing in expectation of great events, powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Church remembers Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor & Martyr on 9th April

 

CONSIDER

candle-in-the-darknessFOR YEARS I’VE RETURNED, at some time in the course of cold and windy Advent evenings, to the same poem. I’m not usually expecting the remembrance. It’s something that just turns up, sometime, every year. William Stafford’s “inviting the quiet by turning the face” moves something in me deeply – over the beckoning hue and cry of the “last opportunity” cash registers. I’m waiting, the world – the whole world – is waiting for something to “touch us too from that other place.”

Listening

My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.

More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.

My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.

William Stafford

Beneath the dome of the firmament, I consider.

LIGHT A CANDLE

LightACandle

FOR OUR DEARLY LOVED ONES or people further afield – Afghanistan, perhaps, or Myanmar or Syria. The bereft and the blessed. The faraway and those having fun. The going and the coming. The hopeless and the fulfilled. The lonely and those revelling in relationship. The sad and the glad. The sick and the healthy. The suffering and the rejoicing. The wondering and the knowing. The wishful and the satisfied. The weeping and the laughing.

All we long for …

And sometimes we just don’t know what to say, or what to pray, or what to do – and it’s then that we wind up thanking God for the little miracle, the tiny gift that is lighting a candle, or maybe a small table lamp at home, the gift that lies in God’s inviting us, in the very act of the lighting and the remembering, to

Let go. Let God

It’s highly likely that I’ll have lit a candle in recent times for YOU. Thank you for your light and love and prayers for me, too.

DEGANWY SUNSET

20130901-182623.jpg

MANY GREAT glories around and within us,
Blessing in sunrise and sunset top and tail.
Photo-graphing “writes in light” – as Rembrandt might in oil –
Revealing our fuller, truer nature.

And tonight in Deganwy,
Fortress Conwy behind me,
Vista enough, in fraction of a second,
For everlasting contemplation.

Sunrise, sunset, and innumerable worlds,
Writings-in-light, and paintings in between –
Every twenty-four hours. Abide and rest.
Rest awhile, cariad, but then arise! And shine …

SRM 31 viii 2013

WARMTH OF LOVE

warmthofloveLOVELY COLLECT in the Weekday Missal today:

O God, you have prepared for those who love you
good things which no eye can see,
fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love,
so that, loving you in all things and above all things,
we may attain your promises,
which surpass every human desire …

BRIGHT FIELDS

40498560

 

2 Corinthians 9.6-11 & Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18

ANOTHER VOICE

windytrees

WILD AND HOWLING winds swirling around the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield made for a reflective, elemental sort of a night. I’m a bit ambivalent about strong wind generally, on the one hand slightly fearful of its power and a tad resentful about its uninvited imposition, and on the other sometimes willing simply to “let go, let fly” – and the encounter with raw nature brings a fleeting sense of oneness with the swirling. With life.

Morning prayer in a gloriously quiet monastic environment lends the soul an opportunity to hear “another voice” – and oh what blessings are to be heard in the silent voices within – whether Divine or divine. Whether Love or loved ones. Connecting. Connected. Silently. Here in this moment. And in eternity.

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak

Mary Oliver

Just pay attention Simon Robert. Only pay attention. The word of the angels is near. Breathe is the word. Breathe