Who has pottered by this way, then?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stones at a Remove

Stones at a Remove

a meditation on Ripon Cathedral online - for Siân Lawton who is taking over this ministry

A standing stone,
Place of gathering,
Landmark on a hill.
A place seen from far off:
Somewhere to aim for.

Speaking of more than stone,
Being more than a beacon:
Emblem of companionship,
Presence of encouragement
On faith's journey.

Articulating rootedness:
Community of ages,
Speaking of destination
Even to those
Not knowingly on that journey.

Icon of Light.
Sign of Christ.
Agent of the Holy Spirit.

Virtually visible
Yet literally present
Where utterance enters heart;
Where conversations continue;
Where God's love and relationships bloom.

Witness to life in Christ,
Inviting a threshold-crossing
Into standing in the flesh
Among living stones
Who continue to build, be built and to bless.

A standing stone,
Place of gathering,
Landmark on a hill.
A place seen from far off:
Somewhere to encounter God.

6th June, Upper Church, Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Wandering in the grounds of the Community of the Resurrection, I found myself in the Community's cemetery. I was planning on simply cutting through it en route to sitting down in the quarry, but I paused. I read a name at the centre of one grave marker. These stood in rows:wooden crosses with a pitched mini-roof with lead sheets on top to keep them from rotting, these roofs giving the impression of each brother pointing up towards heaven.

It suddenly felt right to look at each grave and name each brother out loud. It only took five minutes or so, but I systematically walked through the graveyard saying out loud each name as I passed. It became quite a moving roll call, around a hundred years of passing on into glory being declared.

At the end, I just stood, seeing myself not in a place of the dead, but amid a living community of witnesses to life in the Risen Christ, a true community of the resurrection: a living reality.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.
May they rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

The Leavers - II

Note: Following on from The Leavers - I, later the same day in a different prayer time together, I had a picture of the same circle of leavers representing different people: Christians of earlier era, monks of the Community of the Resurrection (in whose cemetery I had found myself wandering and praying during the morning). I was struck in this picture by the sense of God's timelessness and, indeed, the hidden sense of eternity which we're part of.

The Leavers - II

Ancient beyond our birthday count.
One with the Pentecost crowd
Lapped by tongues of fire.
Yet no tongues here now
For the Spirit is within us, among us,
But wild - not constrained by us.

We are ancient, beyond time, 
Beyond our human-historic frames,
United by grace with God-before-time,
Abiding, indwelling in an eternal dance.
Eternal procession of love:
Within, without and through.

We glimpse but a life-span
Of eternal truth,
And this temporal mission,
Though our calling,
Is but a part of that Eternity Journey:
Deeper, longer, more epic
Than our sense of wonder
Can contain.

6th June 2015
The organ loft of Upper Church, Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield
during the afternoon of the Yorkshire Ministry Course leavers' Quiet Day

The Leavers - I

The Leavers - I

I saw us all as children:
Small; daft; vulnerable.
What truth can we know?
What can we do?
By grace
We are called,
We live in God:
God inhabits us.
Abiding in God's love,
I saw us all as children.

6th June 2015, Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield
Yorkshire Ministry Course leavers' quiet day

Note: at the start of the day, as we sat in a circle in Lower Church, I suddenly had a vision of all of us as children, specifically as the individual children we once were. As we prepare for ordination as deacons within the next few weeks, this was a useful image to reflect upon when I went up into Upper Church. As I sat at the east end near the Altar, I wrote this. A different perspective on this theme of our age emerged in another poem later that day.