Monthly Archives: May 2015

“Trinity Sunday” by Malcolm Guite

I am not preaching this Sunday, so I thought I’d introduce you to this sonnet by Malcolm Guite, Trinity Sunday: It comes from his wonderful collection, Sounding the Seasons: 70 Sonnets for the Church Year.

In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In his own image, his imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for his glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us, and within.

I love the way the poem goes from “the life of God-as-God” to our lives participating in the life of the triune a God: God “makes us each the other’s inspiration”, to make our own music, yet music that calls us to the eternal dance of God, music with “Three notes resounding from a single tone”.

There is so much here to ponder and wonder at.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under church year

Come Holy Spirit: a text from the 13th century

It is Pentecost on Sunday. This prayer is attributed to Stephen Langton (†1228), Archbishop of Canterbury. The original Latin text and this translation from Leonardo Boff, Come, Holy Spirit: Inner Fire, Giver of Life and Comforter of the Poor

Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit)

Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation.

In labour, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace.

O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful.

Without your light there is nothing in the human,
nothing that is pure.

Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

Leave a comment

Filed under church year, Pentecost

On earth as in heaven (Ascension of Christ, Year B, 17 May 2015)

Readings
Acts 1.6–11
Ephesians 1.15–23
Luke 24.44–53

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality—our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.—Rowan Williams

…when he is seen, the exalted Lord is recognized, made particular, given content, by the fact that he bears tangible human scars, and forever confronts us wounded.—Rowan Williams, Resurrection–Interpreting the Easter Gospel

I decided to speak about the Ascension of Jesus today, and it took me quite a while to know how to approach it. To tell you the truth, if you just tell the story straight, it can be a bit embarrassing.

For example, the astronomer Carl Sagan once remarked that if the ascending Jesus had reached the speed of light, he wouldn’t have left our galaxy yet. Not even after 2000 years.

I mean, we don’t see the creation as a three-storey thing any more, with heaven on the top floor, earth on the ground and a shadowy world of the dead as the basement. We are becoming even more aware than ever of the vastness and strangeness of the universe.

The story is told about some Ascension Day celebrations at a particular theological college. A special Ascension Day service was held and the whole faculty in their robes and regalia gathered for the big celebration. It was quite an event.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Church & world, church year, RCL, sermon, Uniting Church in Australia

Love all the one anothers (Easter 6, 10 May 2015)

Readings
Acts 10.44–48
1 John 15.9–17

Love, and do what you will.—St Augustine, Homilies on 1 John VII:8

Before we go on today, I’d like you to close your eyes and be still. Just for a few moments… Ok, that’s fine.

I wonder what you were most aware of? Perhaps some of you just started to drift off. Others may have suddenly remembered they need to get milk on the way home. Yet others may have become more aware of their breathing.

Those last few may have also been more aware than usual of something we all take for granted. We are surrounded by air. It’s all around us.

I’m usually totally unaware of air unless I’m conscious of my breathing, or the winter westerlies are blowing, or there’s a cyclone.

But it’s there, all about me. And I am alive because of it. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Church & world, church year, Culture, RCL, sermon

A blessed stranger (Easter 5B, 3 May 2015)

Reading
Acts 8.26–40

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.…The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
1 John 4.1, 21

At the beginning of our service, we prayed a Prayer of Invocation which came from Korea. It began:

Stay with us, blessed stranger,
for the day is far spent,
and we have not yet recognised your face
in each of our sisters and brothers.

Philip the deacon met a stranger, a blessed stranger, on the wilderness road from Jerusalem to Gaza. And Philip saw the face of Jesus in the stranger’s own face.

This is part of the fulfilment of Jesus’ words to the disciples in Acts 1:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The Book of Acts is about the way the Good News of Jesus spread in those early days of the Church. At first the message was heard in Jerusalem, and then in Judea; those who were part of the covenant people were to hear it, and respond. Which they did.

But the message couldn’t be contained to the people of the covenant. It burst those boundaries, like new wine bursting old wineskins. They proclaimed it in Samaria, where tainted people lived because their ancestors had violated the covenant.

And then the next step comes: the ends of the earth. Total non-Jews. And so we come to the first recorded time that someone from “the ends of the earth” heard the Good News of Jesus.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Church & world, church year, Easter 5, RCL, sermon, sexuality