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The Word Became Flesh

12th Feb 2012

“The Word became flesh and lived among us”  John 1.13

Last week at the Parish Mass we sang the National Anthem for the Queen’s 60th anniversary of accession. 2012 will of course be a year of great commemorations. The obvious two relate to the Queen and the Olympic Games but there are three others which deserve mention. And these three commemorations all have one thing in common – they all have to do with the written word. The first is the current exhibition at The British Library ‘Royal Manuscripts – The Genius of Illumination’, showing beautifully illuminated texts, very expensively made and mainly owned by the King himself, and directed at instructing the King:

‘An illiterate King is like a crowned ass’, John of Salisbury, 1159.

The second commemoration is an upcoming Exhibition at Lambeth Palace ‘Royal Devotion – Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer’ and the third, the many events surrounding the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.  It is interesting to note that these three exhibitions all detail the expansion of the written word over the centuries. There are the costly illuminated works, many of which were for a private reader of exceptional distinction and wealth. Then The Book of Common Prayer which was for the entire populace and found in every church in the land by law, recited and learnt by heart and understood by those who could not read or write:

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.

Book of Common Prayer (1662), Collect for The Second Sunday in Advent

Finally there are Charles Dickens’ novels, appealing to middling and lower as well as upper class citizens and read by those who had in fact now been taught to read. In the greater sharing of the written word comes also the delight in reading as uplifting and reading for pleasure. Reading can take us into other worlds of thought and it can refresh us – it can illuminate, it can teach us and it can be enjoyed for its own sake:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

 ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, Charles Dickens

What then does it mean when John describes Jesus as ‘The Word made flesh?’ How do we read this phrase? Here ‘The Word’ or, Greek word ‘Logos’ means all that God does, and we learn from Genesis that what God is and does is to be known in what he actually speaks. And the creation narratives have God speaking creation into being (‘Let there be light, and there was light’). God the Father’s Word is essentially and always creative. But John the Evangelist goes further when he says that Jesus is one with the Father and existed with him before time ever began. Theologians call Jesus ‘the pre-existent Logos’. Jesus comes to the world in human form to deliver the spoken word of God to the world. He is God-in-the-flesh, as John says, ‘he lives among us’. In relation to the God who speaks and makes himself known, Jesus makes God legible.

I remember having to learn New Testament Greek and not knowing quite what to make of it! Someone once said ‘he who has another language has another world’ but perhaps this one was a bit strange. However, the setting of Greek texts for translation brings the strong reminder that Christianity as we know it did not emerge within a Judean bubble. The Christian scriptures were written in Hebrew and in Greek, even though Our Lord Jesus would have spoken in a form of Aramaic much as they do today. First century Palestine, like contemporary London,  was multicultural and multilingual. And it was out of this social melting pot, this world of languages, that the Gospel writer John can say, using distinctly Greek emphasis, that ‘the Word became flesh and lived among us’. The appeal is couched not in the form of the local but of the universal. The Word of God is for all humankind and not just for the chosen few. When John says that the Word became flash and dwelt among us he is saying that before anything else Christianity draws sustenance from the Christ who is THE LIVING WORD. And for the Christian, this is a Word which is to be proclaimed in every age. Good words, great literature oxygenate our lives as surely as do trees. The spreading of the good word is for their pollination.

The reassuring part of my learning New Testament Greek was the study of the First Letter of John, which was not difficult to translate because very repetitive. Its simple, repeated phrases are very beautiful. They describe the coming of Christ in a way which is very striking and touching in its appeal to the senses:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete. I John 1-4.

The complete joy of this letter lies in its direct appeal to the passion with which faith is received and known. Christian faith is seen not as a pious past time but life’s true enjoyment and enrichment. And this is to be shared, and ‘made complete’ in the sharing. And in this way we begin to answer a question that emerges out of this text, and it is this: ‘How are we, The Church to show that The Word of God has become flesh in our own time?

The answer lies in ourselves and a new discovery of our own understanding and ownership of the written and spoken word of God. We must not be afraid, in a world where the English language has been abbreviated and compressed, to own the faith of Jesus and put that faith into confident expression. We may not find it easy to speak openly about our faith, but the Gospel commits us to do this. Of course we might be afraid that we are being boring, we might feel very self-conscious, but this need not be the case. Our experience of worship in this church will grow our self-confidence. We must proclaim the faith we profess and not ‘hide our light under a bushel’.

How else is the Church to live? We must not be afraid to testify. This has been thought to be the preserve of more evangelical Christians, but Anglo-Catholics are called. Don’t tire of telling others what you find here at Holy Cross, of how you find it and what it means to you. Own the faith of Jesus and the wonders of his Word! This is Good News, and it is what many who seek God (without knowing it) want to hear. The opposite of this is that the Word of God lies dormant and your Christianity becomes an awkward kind of thing. Don’t let this happen, for God’s sake.

At the Queen’s coronation she was presented with a Bible upon which she was to make a solemn oath to defend the Church and these words were said by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. They glory in the Word made flesh and call us as The Church to proclaim the Word of God in our own age:

We present you with this Book,
The most valuable thing that this world affords.
Here is Wisdom;
This is the royal Law;
These are the lively Oracles of God.

The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemass)

2nd Feb 2012

My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all nations to see.
Luke 2.28.

Today’s great Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple extends and enriches the vision of the prophet Malachi that ‘The Lord you are seeking will enter his Temple’. In his prophecy is the meeting in the promised One of past and present realities. Mary and Joseph and Jesus come to enter the Temple and to receive the purification rites as laid down in Jewish Law. The profound meaning of this event is made clearer to us in the telling of a second or background narrative concerning two elderly guardians of the Temple, Simeon, the old priest and the prophetess, Anna. Both are elderly. This couple provide a contrast in time and in place to the young family Mary and Joseph and their child Jesus  --  In the meeting of these two couples, Luke tells us that this is no chance or ordinary meeting, even though it was routine and traditional to present a boy child and for the mother to be ritually cleansed after the birth of her child. This is a meeting and the greeting and the blessing and the cleansing ceremony which is taking place between two religious epochs…The Old and New is being revealed in the one time and the one place and in the one child, Jesus.

Luke paints this message on the largest possible canvas : not only of history, but of the Divine purpose. The Old Testament Man Simeon is more than a mere bystander. In the closing days of his life, he is privileged to utter prophecy in the recognition of the child as a prayer to God the Father: “Mine eyes save seen thy salvation” he cries “which thou hast prepared before the face of all people…” And this is very moving, as we see the old man, coming to the end of his life, meet the new born baby and witness the outcome of his life’s longing. He sees salvation. And TS Eliot marks in a poem ‘A Song of Simeon’, the great themes of life and eath in the immensity of time and sets it slongside Simeon as one whose life has come to completion:

Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no tomorrow.
TS Eliot ‘A Song of Simeon’.

As the hymn ‘Tis Good Lord to be Here’ tells us, the child is for us and for Simeon and for Anna,


Fulfiller of the past
Our hope of things to come!
We hail thy body glorified
And our redemption see.

Today for the Church is a Feast Day of Candles; Candlemass. In it there is always intended to be a procession in our churches as we follow Mary and Joseph into the Temple, and in the carrying of candles, bring to life in the manner of what the French have called a tableau vivant. A coming to life in us of things done and spoken long ago, and the holding in our hands as Simeon held in his arms, ‘The Light to Lighten the nations, and the glory of God’s people. As the Christ was presented to Simeon and to God and the world, so we in the procession present ourselves to Christ as his lights. We as the Church revivify the echoes of passion and of prayer that echo down to us from the Temple chamber. The fulfilment of the past is granted in the utterance of Simeon, and in this happening there is another thing, which is the interlocking of human destinies. If Simeon is right, then ‘the light to lighten the gentiles’ is a light which is the Creator’s light, shining on all people, and not just the chosen few or a hidden minority. All life is here.

This is the sensational message which Candlemass, the Feast of Candles offers us. That Christ is both fulfiller of the past and hope of things to come, and that all of us in Christ are set on a shared destiny. The light is the light of holiness and of truthfulness for us all. Like a bell, it rings for us and it rings true. In Christ we throw in our lot with one another and share a God-shaped destony. In this we may find peace, as time marches on and waits for none of us.

John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris:

"Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

For us in the Church, the effect of the Presentation of the infant Christ in the Temple has been to provide identity for the church and to draw us together with our interrelated fortunes and our experiences of the real in the here and the now of our existence. And in this we see the glory which has been prepared for us from long ago. In this we are given in Jesus the present moment that is in Him the fulfilment of the past and hope of things to come.

Dedicated Service

1st Feb 2012

When they found him, they said to him “everyone is searching for you”… Mark 1.36

St Mark’s Gospel is the briefest of the four gospels and the first to be written. It is known as such because it sets out the facts of the life of Christ in a deliberately succinct and informing way. It was, after all, written for the Church’s earliest believers. It contains the core Gospel message and the one upon which the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and refer, and from which they draw their own interpretation. With this brevity and clarity, there is also a refreshing sense of real and decisive action. We meet the Jesus who reveals himself in the doing of various ‘signs and wonders’; and there is also present the so-called ‘Markan secret’ - of the Jesus who does not wish his true identity to be known and of the Jesus who wishes to go to a place apart. The existence of Christ is both one of human involvement and of passionate inwardness. It is one of evidence and also of discretion. He is the man for others and the One set apart. He cares and heals as a public figure and yet he also withdraws from the scene.

To care and not to care,
Teach us to sit still                    
TS Eliot, from ‘Ash Wednesday, 1930’.

Mark seems keen to set forth the two aspects of Jesus ministry as the giver of God’s healing, and yet also the One who receives the energy and the spiritual power for that work from another source. If we are to speak at all about the true purposes of God in relation to the lives of men and women we must also speak of the  lives of those consecrated and dedicated to Him. It has been the Church’s practise to see all life and all living as a consecrated and dedicated life. The Consolata Community here in King’s cross shows us what the life consecrated to prayer and stability looks like, as we meet the sisters on the streets. Their presence is telling…

For the Christian, life finds its true source, its raison d’être in and through the life of Jesus Christ. To make that statement is one thing, to believe that statement is another, and then to live that statement is yet another. The Church provides markers or events, rites of passage, in which the believer receives consecration for dedication, particularly in the rites of Confirmation, Ordination and Holy Matrimony. And the making and keeping of vows is a vital part of the life lived in God. And this making of vows is an ancient order of practice which is much needed and a vital part of the human experience in its civilised form. This is because it values our lives and their purposes as a calling, as a vocation, a duty and a determined service.

We are entering a time when we hear people speaking of ‘an old fashioned sense of duty’ or the automatic disavowal of any line of authority which is ‘top down’. There is little talk of ‘vocation’ or ‘calling’. People look back wistfully to the days when the idea of the profession related not to some imagined expertise but to an inner sense of calling and a readiness to serve. We know too, of working environments whose planning is driven to meet impossible and endlessly shifting goals and which see the changing of structures as invariably good. The re-drawing of the school curriculum yet again is an example of this. There is, sadly a mistrust of healthy kinds of permanence and a wantonness about shifting people around, cutting people down, sacking them, with the obliviousness to the human cost and of human dislocation. I attended a school teacher’s conference entitled “How do we go from good to excellent?” The title was designed to see the presence of the ‘good’ as an end in itself, a place of departure rather than as a place from which to deepen understanding of itself…

The consecrated and dedicated Christ is the One who received sources of life and of energy from another source, from God himself. It was from this source and from none other than that he was able to draw the sustenance necessary for the task; of bringing into being a real human salvation. If this life is truly ‘in Christ’ it is also a life which refreshes itself from source. It is a life which is determinedly resolved in the words of Eliot ‘to care and not to care and to sit still’. It is a life which has come to know instinctively that we humans are at our best when our lives and hopes lie in harmony with the divine order, and not as though God did not exist and that life could be lived apart from its true source. Perhaps Alain de Boton’s idea of a ‘temple for atheists’ might provide something, but what would be the object of worship and unity….?

It is fitting this morning that we anticipate the 60th anniversary of the accession of our Queen to the throne. We are marking this with the singing of the national anthem not merely as old fashioned patriots but as Christians. It is as Christians that we honour the Christian understanding of the sanctified and dedicated calling. It is well worth watching the Coronation Service of the Queen in 1953 for its distinctively solemn and worshipful character and Christian expression. This is apparent not just because our country in 1953 was ‘more Christian’, whatever that means. No, it’s Christian because everything what flowed in and through the traditions of this country found a Christian expression, an expression embodied in the monarch, who, on the day of her coronation received an anointing (the only part of the service that was not televised). And in this anointing and in all the vows and promises she made, a life was consecrated and dedicated. The Queen’s dedication and longevity still provides us with a powerful reminder of how important it is for lives to find their point of calling and of dedication and duty. A point of constancy and sameness in a shifting world that all might find beneficial. Her life has of course been played out in front of a largely admiring world. Nonetheless she has mirrored for us in her own sense of duty that which of the essence of the call to serve.

In the face of the demise of former institutions which had a strong caring and dedicational ethic we now face institutions which, run on the models of business and endless change, growth predictions and league tables. They desperately need to rediscover that strong measure of calling which has been the mainstay of the nursing and teaching professions. A nurse friend I know regards as normal the fact of other nurses taking time off owing to stress and many having had nervous breakdowns through over work coupled with a sense of stressful purposelessness. If we treat people like machines they will break down like machines. Jesus allows us to see that a careful balance exists between work and rest and between consecration and obedience. He is the one who has lead us to the place where life finds its true purposes. He and he alone is the one who shows us what it is ‘to care and not to care and to sit still’ in the consecrated and dedicated life. Let us, then, remain faithful to what we have been called.

Let us inhabit that place most fully…

The Wedding Feast at Cana

22nd Jan 2012

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory. John 2.11 

This holy season of Epiphany contains a natural kind of exuberance, like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. For Epiphany is the coming into being of Christ as the glorious manifestation of power and presence. Outward and seemingly ordinary events become charged with the presence of the Creator God and burst into life. The Baptism of Christ which we observed last week was accompanied by the opening of the heavens and the voice of God crying ‘This is my Son, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased’. We understand the Season of Epiphany as the beginning of several epiphanies or glorious manifestations. The coming of Jesus Christ as our Saviour has its own unstoppable momentum,

You go to my head,
And you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne.      
Writers Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein.

You may think this champagne image a bit frivolous, until you realise that today’s Epiphany happening, the turning of the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana, is the first of Christ’s miracles. And because it is the first miracle it has great significance for the Christian Church in the manifestation of God’s glory. It comes to us in the writing of Archbishop Michael Ramsey:

The glory of God is the living man
And the life of man is the vision of God. 
St Irenaus, inscribed on Archbishop Ramsey’s gravestone.

Christ’s life is to be our example, and it is to be a life lived to the full, brimmed full of expensive and exuberant love. It is a life of intimate connectedness and friendship and personal understanding and generosity. And this is revealed, sensationally, at the Cana wedding feast in the miraculous supply of wine. This is Christ’s epiphany as loving provider and life giver, or in the words of one of modern hymns, as ‘The Lord of the Dance’. “I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, and I’ll lead you all in the dance,” said he... The psalmist puts it in more elevated terms when he says “With you, O God is the fountain of life, and by your light we see light”. (36, 7b,8). God is the fountain of life and the waters of life dance to the tune of his voice. He is, before all else, a life giver.

Parties of whatever kind, and specially wedding parties, where members of different families are meeting in an intimate atmosphere as strangers, need some social ‘oiling’ to get them going.  In one of Alan Bennett’s plays, ‘Single Spies’, none other than our Queen Elizabeth II is featured, and we overhear a conversation that she’s having with the curator of her paintings. ‘Of course’ she says dryly, ‘When I meet people they’re always on their best behaviour, and when people are at their best they are invariable at their worst, and this is so fatiguing...’ The provision of good wine or drink is both an emollient, an ice-breaker, and also an act of celebration in itself, a toast to the bride and groom.

In the wedding feast at Cana, we are being given us a foretaste of the life that he has come to bring. His ministry is to be intimately bound up with the lives of those around him, and he is to promise his followers as he promises us in this Eucharist, not just life, but life in its fullness. His and our cup of life through the Holy Spirit is to run over, and promise deep and unspeakable joy.

In Christ we have fullness of experience at the earthly level. The fount of life is also the God who refreshes us within the very heart of ourselves, and warms our hearts with his gracious and generous love. There is no part of our lives that cannot be loved back into union with ourselves, with others and with God. However stubbornly we play dead with those parts of our nature that need healing, God beckons us into loving union with him through the life of his Church. This is why the Church has been referred to as ‘the bride of Christ’ : The Wedding Feast at Cana speaks of Christ’s willingness to espouse his ministry to the guests then and to us now, as he calls you and I into union with our maker. The only joy worth having is the joy of union with the Creator, and not with artificial substitutes.

Christ meets us and we meet him in this Eucharist, and as we say our prayers to God here and elsewhere and as we continue our journey in the Christian Faith, and as we encounter God here we become aware too that there is a joy to be experienced which lies beyond mere pleasure or satisfaction. There is a life to be lived which takes us beyond mere existence for its own sake. We have, after all come to church because we know that this deeper, richer seam of life is available to us in the worship of the Church and in union with Christ. We are living not for ourselves alone but for him who gave himself for us. For Him who reconnects us and our lives with our Maker. With him who, even though we still have to struggle with all that life throws at us, nonetheless find their meaning in Christ. It is in Christ that God can, in us, accomplish more than we can imagine or ask. And the sign that this joy, this glory, is present,  is sure.  As Isaiah says to us in this morning’s OT reading, “As the bridegroom rejoices in the bride, so God will rejoice in you”. (62.5). 

But in the meantime we struggle with what we have to bear in the knowledge and good purposes of his grace...

Some words of Archbishop Michael Ramsey, scribbled in note form on the days leading up to his ordination to the priesthood in 1929:

‘My grace is sufficient for thee’. How do I need to look away
From self to God; I can only find satisfaction in Him.
My heart to love Him; my will to do His will;
My mind to glorify Him; my tongue to speak to Him and of Him;
My eyes to see Him in all things;
My hands to bring whatever they touch to Him;
My all only to be a real ‘all’, because it is joined in Him.
And this will be utter joy – no man can take it away.
Self, self-consciousness, self-will, the self-centre cut away,
So that the centre which holds all my parts is God.

Come and See

15th Jan 2012

Come and see”. John 1.48

Nathaniel said “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

It is meaningful for us to compare the infant Samuel in the Old Testament and Nathaniel in the New. The account of Samuel and Eli’s sleep in the sanctuary of the temple alongside the ark of the covenant and with the faint light waiting to be extinguished is very lovely. They old man and the boy share a time of sleep in the place of the divine presence, in which the child hears the voice of God - and yet thinks it’s the old man calling.  Eli knows after a while that it is no longer right to tell the Samuel to ‘go back to sleep’ but to instruct him to respond: ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’. The Nathaniel account is a distinct contrast. It takes place in the great outdoors and in day time. But the issue remains the same, and it is one of the divine call and of human receptivity. Jesus has been found by Philip who now claims that he has met the Messiah, the promised one, and he names him as the son of the carpenter Joseph from Nazareth. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathaniel says offhandedly, to which Philip then replies ‘Come and see’. The call of God is one which tests our human perception. In the case of Samuel and Nathaniel comes the prompt not to see the presence of God as something incidental and distant, but one which may come calling…

Our worship of God involves a gentle challenge to our receptive capacity. Our lives and their meaning and destiny are bound to the life of the God we worship. The two are inseparable. We recognise our need of God, not from the point of view of a defensive and distracted mentality, but in the one whom we know has loved us beyond our telling. Philip’s reply ‘come and see’  is an invitation to come to God in whom to know is to truly be. To inhabit God is to inhabit the true reality.  “Come…..and see…” Philip says, “Come, and receive...”

But receptivity doesn’t always come to us naturally. Henri Nouwen knows this when he says,

Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God's loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love. Claiming and reclaiming our chosenness is the great spiritual battle of our lives, for in a competitive, power-hungry and manipulative world, it is all too easy to forget that God has always known us, and God has chosen us – even when we slide into self-doubt and self-rejection. Knowing that we have been and are known by God, and that we have been chosen, is the first thing we need to claim as we behold what we are and become what we receive in Him.

We are in fact and in deed, “blessed.” The word “blessing” comes from the Latin word, benedicere, which literally means to speak well of someone, to say good things about someone. We all have a deep need for affirmation, to know that we are valued not just because of something we did or because we have a particular talent, but simply because we simply are. This is for many of us a difficult realisation; because we so often place ourselves in the way of our own healing.

In a modern society where there is so much acquisitiveness, the idea of receptivity may save us from  what  is ephemeral. The experience of receptivity, channelled in God, is creative and fruitful. What then might a receptive Church look like? A receptive Church is one which has learnt to discern what remains true for us from what is suspect and counterfeit. This is particularly true of those situations where the language used and the assumptions made about our world turn out to be manipulative and lacking in human respect. A receptive Church is one which practises thanksgiving for what has been received. Thanksgiving as a gift and a necessity – preventing us from becoming casual and unthinking in our dealings with one another. A receptive Church is one which has learnt to listen, not only with the ear, but to listen to persons in the fullness of their being, no matter whom they may be and no matter how difficult this may be. A listening Church is one which can include and can hold together difficult elements in the one work and witness. A receptive Church is one which continues to learn what it is to practise the Christian Faith not as something completed and finished but as something which is continually being worked out and which will have no ending in this life. A receptive Church is patient. It has to be!

A spirituality of receptivity is one which is capable of inhabiting places of silence and even of disonance with composure. It is a spiritual practice which acknowledges God before all else. In John’s Gospel he speaks of God as not just pertaining to love but of actually being love itself. And love is not divided. A receptive church is undivided. To receive God is to be in receipt of a love which has already been freely granted to us. To be receptive in this way is to respond naturally to what God already is and to what God already gives – his own being. Our hope is to come to know this. But we place so many things in the way and we are all too aware of how we blank God out of our existences. Even so a receptive church is not discouraged; it lives in hope which is the Christ of mercy; He the One in whom we can see ourselves as we really are in the promise of his forgiveness. He remains present.

Nathaniel has said that “nothing good can come from Nazareth”, but indeed something has come from Nazareth –  goodness itself. In fact, its very incarnation. This is a part of his Epiphany; his and our glory.

To ‘come and see’ in this instance is to come before God as receptive beings, to inhabit that place and that love which is above and beyond all other considerations, and which makes it possible to reach beyond ourselves to that place of witness which is proved real. And in all this God lies before us to guide us in the right way.
Here is a well-known poem by George Herbert; a celebration of joy in response to God’s freely given grace in the repetition of summoning and receptive phrases:

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.

George Herbert.




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