Early on Easter morn, just before dawn, as the chorus of birds are beginning, all over the land children rush down to the breakfast table to see how much chocolate they have conned various relatives into buying this year! Later that afternoon, cardboard and foil wrappers litter the living room floor, discarded in favour of the sweet brown delight that lurks within each one of them. Do we blame them? Well no, because we were once like that with chocolate smeared grins of satisfaction and who are we to deny the innocent pleasure in chocolate! Chocolat is such a beautiful film, delightfully acted and directed, beyond that it is also a great film for Lent and Easter, so this year I have been telling the story Bit by bit each week until today, the day of the great unveiling. The chateaux with the dominating Mayor pitted against Vianne and her chocolate! Well it is no contest really, the, cold, heartless, unwelcoming Mayor or the chocolaterie with the hospitality, welcome and love? No contest really, I’ll take the contents of the box. The church and Mayor offer so much on the outside, but underneath the veneer, there is an emptiness, no love or compassion is shown here. No wonder the villagers one by one desert the Mayor in favour of Vianne. She has the contents aplenty and is generous with them, where is Christ to be found? Where there is love of course! The film ends on Easter day with a joyful resurrection as the villagers begin to realise there is a better way and they have been missing out. Forget the box, this Easter I’ll just take the contents please!
The Parish Away day in preparation for Holy Week Easter – focussing on seeing a larger Christ.
A meditation in preparation for time spent in quiet with the hills, woods, chickens and bees!
(Music: ‘Nunc Dimittis’ Christian Forshaw)
It is as if we are dead to the world that is before us. And we must die to this life to be reborn as children of the one who gives us life. It is as if we are dead to the world.
There is no divide, yet we have cut ourselves away, as if not a part of the rest of the world.
(Music: ‘Adrift’ Iona)
Smoke rises up as if from the water all around, there is no land in sight, we are cast adrift in the land where there is no separation, encompassing all that is, that has been and that shall be.
Cast us adrift to float in the in-between world that connects us from the fake to the real, from the selfish to the generous, from fighting against to working with, from the arrogant to the humble.
(Music: ‘Irish Day’ Iona)
The dawning of a new day comes as sand to the keel. It is time to awaken from our slumber, to re-engage, re-create, re-generate. Who we once were, that we shall be again. In harmony with rather than against, walking alongside rather than trampling over.
Open our eyes to see the beauty within us and around us.
Awaken in us the yearning spirit which is connected at the deepest level to every living, breathing, growing being. To trees, rivers, mountains, grass, animals, fish. enable us to see they are created in your image as we are. Reconnect us to each other.
For they honour you with each budding, petal opening, leaf unfolding. The quiet breath, the crawling life transforming, the buzzing of the faithful servant.
And it is the Christ in whom they have their being, Christ who was before all things, is in all things and through all things.
Where your treasure is – there is your heart.
Treasure it, love it, live it, breathe it, honour it and live in the knowledge and light of the christ, in the unity that defies definition or description.
I’ve been learning a new skill, well, trying to bluff through it at the very least. There are rules for everything these days and twice as many for Cerdd Dant it seems. For the uninitiated, it’s a poem set to music sung over an air on a Harp. They had always sounded so appropriate listening to the children singing over the melodic harp tune at the Urdd Eisteddfod. It soon became apparent that there was far more to this than met the ear. There are rules a-plenty. Where to start, where to finish, where each accent of the poem must fall in the music, the rhythm, the harmonies, it’s a wonder there are any completed at all! It reminded me a little of Jazz and the wonderful improvisations that abound from a simple melody. The very best jazz musicians are able to move away from the original melody, but still keeping a connection with it, so that returning to it seems natural and easy. Cerdd Dant is a bit like that. The ‘Cyfalaw’ as it is called, must follow the words and use them as a guide, but also must be faithful to the ‘Cainc’ or Harp tune. The rules are there to help it all fit together properly. Like all rules, you can of course, bend or break them in certain circumstances – if it helps the words to be properly expressed! I couldn’t help but reflect on all of this yesterday, (13th Feb) with readings on a legalistic theme and the casting into hell as a punishment. Perhaps if we can imagine the message of Jesus as a melody, a Jazz melody. What we do in life is a bit like improvisation, our daily lives do not always directly represent the original melody, but if we allow it to shape what we create, remaining faithful to the original as a kind of ostinato bass that under-girds everything we do, then like the jazz improvisation we will unconsciously reflect the life of the Christ throughout our whole life.