Solstice Pilgrims


Emmanuel, come.
Mary. Emmanuel. This fourth Sunday of Advent at the solstice, the shortest of days in the year when we yearn for the the light to return as others suffer the dire consequences of too much heat. The injustice of it all. And I feel like switching it all off and not knowing, but then I too become disconnected. And we yearn for connection. We bear each others pain in the knowing and the sharing. Who bore your pain Mary? Did Joseph? Encouraged by the angel in the gospel of Matthew to not ‘do the righteous thing’ but to do the dangerous thing to stand by her. Yes. She’s pregnant. And no, Joseph, It isn’t yours. What would we do? How many women will we stand by who are like Mary this Advent. How many women will we empower this advent as we support Christian Aid to enable them to help themselves out of poverty? What did Joseph do? He offered a gift of legitimacy. In a culture of shame upon women who were pregnant out of marriage he offered a home and a place for Mary to be secure. Will we do the same to those who are branded as illegitimate or foreign or different in some way. What would we give for such security for those women around the world who live in fear of tomorrow because of the situation they find themselves in. And yet, Mary chose her path, knowing it was more than her own life. Mary, Jospeh, then Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Our companion on the way. Knowing that somehow perhaps those choices and actions, however small at that moment would change things for the future. In that moment of knowing, the light begins to shine out of the darkness. It works so well in the northern hemisphere. Where the nights are long and light is at a premium. So yesterday in the meagre short hours of light we walked, unhurried along a path. Squandering those precious hours of light simply walking in the company of others, offering ourselves to each other as companions on the way carrying each other for a time. At this darkest moment of the year our expectation grows and our Advent waiting is almost done.

As the light fades on this shortest of days
May we who have walked to the turn of the earth
dwell in the company of brightness
With winter’s shrouded colours born of waiting
in anticipation of the light that is to come.
May we return to this moment when the darkness
closes in and be cradled as in candlelight
encouraged as by bird song
a haunting vespers which invades
our inner silence and calls companions
and friends together out towards the light.

If we had but a glimpse…

After the Eco-Retreat at Cae Mabon this past weekend...
Pe caem gipolwg yn unig ar y byd fel lle gorffwys, a fyddem wedi ein cyfareddu gan y stori sanctaidd? Wedi ein hanrhydeddu wrth i fywyd cyfan droi’n ddiwrnod o baratoi. Yna, efallai y down yn gyd-grëwyr y wawr, gan ailddychmygu’n ddwyfol gelfyddyd a harddwch coll y creu. Nid yw bywyd a adewir yn segur am gyfnod, yn fywyd ofer. Rhaid gollwng gafael, gadael i’r tangnefedd naturiol godi eto a, chyfranogi’n dyner braf, wedi ein daearu unwaith eto.

If we had but a glimpse of the world as a resting place would we be caught in the sacred story? Honoured as the whole of life becomes a day of preparation.  We might just then become co-creators of the dawn for a divine re-imagining of the lost art and beauty of creation.  A life laid fallow, for a time, is not in vain.  To let go, to allow the natural restfulness to rise up and with gentle ease, to participate; earthed once again.

Women of the Passion

Women of the Passion.

Women of the Passion is a series of ten reflections on an image created by Chloe in chalk-pastel. Originally separate, now gathered here in one place to read in sequence.

The second image was the result of a moment’s inspiration and serendipitous sunlight through a window onto the picture.

Who is She?

She represents the women who followed Jesus and provided for him. They remained faithful where others betrayed or fled.  Then, unexpectedly became the first witnesses to his rising.  But ‘she’ is also is also ‘we’ looking on through the window of the cross to these events from afar.  

Will our response be as faithful as that of those women?

Anointed.

You risked it all in a moment of emotion charged with an energy that heightened the senses as perfumed hands, feet, and hair, mingled for a time.  Physical touch, in kindness, sorrow and love. Knowing somehow another chance would not come.

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  John 12:3

 

Questioning.

Hidden in the half light and shadows, were you desperately seeking the truth with a piercing gaze over firelight? When the courage to speak out was rewarded with a betrayal of the truth.

Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.”  Luke 22:56

 

Weeping.

Anguished tears flow for a moment passing by for the loss, pain and a fear that grips like cords tightening deep in the soul longing for another turning.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”  Luke 23:28

 

Witness

Huddled together against the jeering and mocking of the condemned, distant but engaged still.  You who once sustained now resigned, not powerless but waiting, where others deserted, the faithful remnant.

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. Mark 15:40

 

Enduring

You, there at the beginning, now at the ending.  The sword of sorrow promised for your heart has pierced your soul.  In silent loyal vigil receiving a taste of the bitter cup.  With gritted teeth ‘according to your word’ comfort to another’s son.

“Woman, here is your son.”  John 19:26

 

Preparing.

Still you follow, unwavering.  Quietly you defy authority watching, waiting for the right moment, for swords have no power here.  Your peaceful action, begins the silent revolution-echo through the centuries.  Keep watch.  

The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Luke 23:55

 

Rest.

On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:56

 

Dawning.

You return expectant, of nothing more than the task of loving service to anoint the departed. You who have been there through it all, now in the final moment as the earth turns to the sun in the quietness of the morning after. Suddenly unprepared

And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. Mark 16:2

 

Revelation.

for the moment you found everything changed confused in disarray both hearts and tomb lay empty before you no place to lay flowers or memorial.  What then now but to flee away until, until before you, not stone, but word softly spoken

So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8

 

Revolution.

calling you by name with tears of sadness and joy unburdened now of your first telling the emotions ride out.  Nervous whispers permeate gatherings of those who misunderstood for now it begins.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. Luke 24:10