Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Eastertide: Running on Empty and Monotheistic Monotony

Another Easter come and gone. I always felt like it was a long run and  an uphill climb for a parish priest through Lent to Easter. There was some Easter running for Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and John, too—read some more thoughts on the subject here.  

Then comes the joy and release of the lovely Eastertide easy peddling downhill run to Pentecost and summer. Downhill was good because, once Easter was done, I was often spent and would be running on empty for a few days. Running on empty isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it turns out. Christians have been running on the reality of that empty tomb for over two thousand years—more thoughts on that here

Monotheistic Monotony

I read somewhere that monotony could be a problem in clergy life. The same seasons, stories and readings year after year could wear a cleric down. Apart from the occasional worry about coming up with something new and original to say each time the cycle repeated itself, the repetition didn't bother me. When I first came out of seminary I was a little afraid I would have preached all I had to say in about six weeks. Once I realized just how endlessly rich and diverting the Scriptures are, I relaxed and enjoyed the mixture of reprises and new insights whenever they came.  

I came across some wisdom from GK Chesterton on the subject in a piece on the joys of knitting over at Her-meneutics recently: 
Children have abounding vitality… they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. 
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
Lovely. Read the whole article here

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Great Sabbath—Holy Saturday

God rests from his labours.
Were heaven's praises silent in those hours of darkness?
Your Holy Spirit brooding round that empty throne?
More here.

Friday, 3 April 2015


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Soul Needs: Meditating on Maundy Thursday.

Today The Three Days (Triduum) begin, usually with the Foot Washing and Eucharistic liturgy centred on what Jesus did and said at The Last Supper in that Upper Room.

Past Maundy meditations: 


Love, Wash, Eat, Drink, Remember: a Short Sermon for Maundy Thursday

Thoughts on Foot Washing

Foot washing can be a challenge for those who are not used to it—all a bit too up close and a little creepy. Eleven years ago a woman wrote me the following note after Maundy Thursday worship and her first experience of foot washing:
Lent is one of the Church seasons when I quietly reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross and his crucifixion. Maundy Thursday seems to me to be almost as sorrowful a day as Good Friday. The foot-washing ceremony is something I never took part in. This year as Maundy Thursday approached several of my friends told me what a powerful service they thought the foot-washing was.   
After a day and night of prayer and meditation, I realized that pride had kept me from the foot washing. Because of my hammer toes and rotten looking feet, I had never wanted anyone to see them.  
At the Maundy Thursday service, I was still ambivalent about having my feet washed. Images of Jesus washing his disciples feet flooded my thoughts and I said to myself, “Do it.”   
As my feet were being washed, a feeling of great humility came over me. As they were being dried, I felt a great desire to wash another’s feet. While doing so, I was filled with ecstasy and great emotion. I felt myself to be in a more spiritual realm. My soul was filled with wonderment and love. I was at the foot of the cross; a more fervent believer than ever before. 
Why was this experience so powerfully moving for this dear saint? When words aren’t enough, we perform rituals. A good ritual says something more than mere words can say. That’s what rituals are for. So we take a tuna casserole over when someone has had a loved one die. We give an aching spouse a back-rub. And we wash feet. Not because the feet need cleaning, but because our souls do. And we go the altar to eat little wafers and take tiny sips of wine, not because our bodies need them for sustenance, but because our souls do.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Thoughts Arising and Having Arisen on Spy Wednesday in Holy Week

Today is Anthony, our son's birthday. April Fool's Day. Foolish, more and more seem to think, to assume the risk of marriage and parenthood in this, or any, day and age when life can seem precarious. Yet I'm very glad we did—for the joy of it.

I am also glad God was "foolish" (1 Cor 1.18-25) enough to do what we remember and celebrate each Holy Week. There was risk, inconvenience, sacrifice and suffering in it, too.

Some ponderings on the subject from Wednesdays past:

Holy Week Watercolour from the Word: Wednesday

A Wee Puff of Witnesses: Laying Weights Aside and Running with Endurance—a Wednesday in Holy Week Sermon with Reference to Hebrews 12.1-3

Sunday's coming.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tuesday in Holy Week Time

Something the StB Altar Guild women put together caught my eye in my Holy Week water-colouring. Thought here: Holy Week Watercolour from the Word: Tuesday

And a reminder that we are called in Holy Week to be who we are in Jesus, to do what we are called to do—not to be successful—but to give God pleasure: Our Calling: a Tuesday in Holy Week Sermon with Reference to 1 Cor 1.26-28, Oswald Chambers, Eugene Peterson and Jeremiah

Monday, 30 March 2015

Past Posts on Monday in Holy Week

Here we are again. The big week and Holy. Some Monday in Holy week pondering:

A Monday in Holy Week Sermon: A Bloody Religion: Heb 9.14

Holy Week Watercolour from the Word: Monday

Thoughts on a Monday in Holy Week