What makes up the people of God? Not bread alone, but bread of love Blessed, given and broken. A taste of heaven within the spirit, held in the soul regardless of taste or lack of. Bricks without straw; are still made in love; still build true and strong foundation. Straw without bricks can be blown away. But bricks without straw? The dust of the earth from which we are made; life giving water by which we live; Shaped and formed in love by God the Ultimate Potter. The people of God, the bricks of God, The Church of God, Built of Love.
Hearts bleed with broken dreams, pain wracks not only bodies but the world. The scream of missile trace drowns out the cries of hope; clouds of building dust and flames of acrid smell fill the air with despairs offspring. First cut of lies, dug deeper not by the foe but … supposed friend who turns a back, hiding behind an acronym_ and like Pilate washes hands. Strength for them and us, is the plea, the prayer, the hope. That they may live and we may breathe deeply, take the risk and proclaim in more than hopes and prayers God lives, God cares, God acts and so will we.
The smoke curled up, high up, reaching for God, somewhere beyond: Unseen, unfleshed, hidden _ expect for those and such as those, behind the veil. The smoke curled up. To offer thanks, to beg for mercy, to ask for cleansing, to reclaim, redeem, renew. The smoke curled up. Precious grains, as if glass, in hues of ochre and umber_ gave up their fragrant offerings enriched by prayers. Aromas layered with the pyres of finest of meat. Its crackling and spitting augmenting the cacophony of other noises, growing the sacrifice, searching for the perfect cord _ the ultimate offering. In each babies cry and exciting children’s chatter. In the prayers of old men and young men’s dreams. In the new bride’s hopes and widows remembrances. In their offerings of smoke, and heart, and word echoed sometimes faintly sometimes steadier, the prophets call. Words of old, now spoken; there in the midst of all those people, hoping, searching praying. There in the midst of all that devotion. One man. One woman. They alone see through the smoke to the glory others pass by, and The Word is proclaimed ... and touched.
Amid the shadows of unwelcome, glory breaks through. Amid the poverty of used straw, the glory of life glistens. Amid the sighs of essential work, glory is birthed. Amid the coverings for protection, glory rests. Inside, safe and secure with anticipations hope glory resides. Meanwhile, outwith_ Amid the melancholy of not being elsewhere, glory spills. Amid the chill of roofless nights, glory is sung. Amid the warmth of a few companions gathered round a fire glory is felt. Amid the last minute gifts of love glory is proclaimed. Glory seeping through every crack it can find. And still_ Amid fleeing refugees, one eye looking anxiously back, glory travels. Amid the disquieting of the unfamiliar, glory waits in silent presence. Amid souls and bodies contracted with pain, glory sparks. Amid those who feel dark encompassing them glory knocks. The glory of the One and Only the glory of the Word the glory of a Baby’s cry the glory of Hope realised. The glory of a star proclaiming a glorious new beginning for the world.
Members of the diocese recorded this into a video for Christmas Day 2021.
The days are surely coming Abram and Sarai knew this. Okay Sarai laughed, and Abram scoffed, but eventually they knew it. The days are surely coming Isaac and Rebekah knew this. Okay Rebekah felt betrayed, and Isaac married someone else, but ultimately they knew it. The days are surely coming Ruth and Boaz knew this. Okay Ruth was a pawn, and Boaz was manipulated, but they knew it. The Patriarchs and Matriarchs all knew the days were coming, the days when God would come and reign upon the earth. They maybe, at first at least, didn’t realise they too were part of the plan but they learnt to know it. The days are surely coming Jerimiah cried afresh. What the matriarchs and patriarchs had known had been forgotten once again. God’s promises will come true, day and night, be ready for the restoration that will come. A time when those tossed aside, will have a seat at the only table that really matters. A time when those who know bare trees of hunger, will have a banquet laid before them. A time when the sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the waves, the land, will cry out all of creations pain and_ God will respond; God will keep the promise, promised long ago. Hearts not weighed down by earth bound cares will know joy and love unbounding. Anchoress Julian knew, All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. She knew the days are surely coming. Do you? Are you ready to take your place in the story cast long ago, not about a baby in a stable but your role in the righting of the world? Are you ready to play your part, the part that only you can play, in what may seem improbable? Your part in loving in God's Kindom. Are you ready? The days are surely coming.
Margaret, Queen of this land but child of another a bargaining chip such was a daughter’s lot. Margaret, Queen of this land and child of God, a woman of precious faith. Peace and security garnered through a life polished with prayer and God as her companion in all her journeying over sea and land, through trials and tribulations. Despite the times and seasons through which she lived, Margaret, saint and queen, Scotland’s precious pearl, radiated Christ’s love and comfort She wore the breastplate of faith and love faith strong and true, exampled through words and deeds of kindness’ of love in action, not done at arm’s length in personal acts of sacrifice and service done in secret not lauded for all to see. She wore the helmet of hope, hope not just for this life and for herself but hope for all and for eternity casting the Light of Christ throughout this land creating light and hope were darkness and despair tried to reign. Through healing of mind and bodies through teaching, equipping and serving others She shared the Gospel message of impartiality for Margaret knew, despite her high status that all are precious in God’s sight. As we live through these times and seasons where the grit of covid and its restrictions can irritate and make us want to cast all aside to just rid ourselves of its constant annoying itch which we can’t quite scratch to satisfactions point. Plant in our minds the pearl, O God, that through such times and seasons with the breastplate of faith and love the helmet of hope you will, and can hone us to be such pearls as Margaret was so we too reflect Christ’s light in this your land.
Blessed be your name, Holy One who blesses us with seasons. Autumnal myriad hues, like Joseph’s coat, Swirl around, reminders of your radiant presence and your love. Always with us. Waning Hunter moon its labour easing drawing out the night, while bittersweet memories tinge the frosty air. Saints and saints, both. Those whose names and smells and voices we recall, with smiles upon our heavy hearts. Those with halos shinning bright; Owning unknown faces, inspiring words, mysterious deeds of wonder; Watching from mosaic, tempera, coloured glass. Both saint and Saint remembered in this hallowed time, of falling leaf and tolling bell. Blessed be your name, Holy One who blesses us with seasons. Seasons of the earth_ transient life, perpetual soul.