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"As You Pray ....."


He had often been here
and always it was the same
     not just the place
     separate
     silent
but the connections
     with all that happened
     daily
     in the villages and homes
     by the lake
     in the hills
reappeared
and he responded
by gathering it all up
     confidently
     yet able to doubt
and relentless against all evil.

Tired
hungry
     and sometimes
     fearful of the outcome
his heart rested in the meaning
      -visible always to him -
     of all that was made
concerned for human integrity
and the maturity
of responding to human challenges
in daily life.

So,
as always when he was alone
the events of the recent past
were burnt, as it were,
into sharp focus
and transposed
to their true perspective
     people in need
     people whom he loved
     people
          who nagged away
          and bullied him
          to show his hand
          once and for all.

Yes -
the peace that flowed over him now
was strangely compounded
with all those daily encounters
until he was truly amazed
     silent
     still
in the presence of a peace
that claimed him.

He had always been conscious
of holding the gift of life up to the Father
     in blessing
sure of the steady provision
that maturity of life needed
- not just for himself
     but for all.
His constant compassion
     witness
     and friendship
freely given to all
was one with this moment
     of stillness.

Call it 'love'
     a relationship with the Father
     constantly reciprocated
an unceasing confidence
     with room to be human
     and for doubt
     as well as for ecstasy
communion with all that is.

Reconciling Love

Born of woman
born under the law -
He dreamed -
     of humankind's deliverance
     from law and rite
     from gods many and lords many.
He looked back
and thought he saw
a motley throng of people
perhaps Magdalene, Peter and Nicodemus?
perhaps Bartimaeus and Mary?
mostly faces
appearing and disappearing
in the eager, thrusting crowd.

And then they were all going
through the waters.
It must be Jordan.
He thought
    another exodus?
    another arrival?
And he cried out -
    Have no fear!
In the far off distance
he saw a dazzling circle of light
brighter than the eastern sunrise.

And suddenly he woke
to the reality of this night
     to go on?
     to disappear?
He went on
through the turbulent and destroying waters
an object
    of hatred and fear
    of unpitying scorn and derision.
For one who was turned to God
in all the regularity and rhythm of his being
this was no different challenge
    except
the tension
    of being stretched
    between God and humanity
so that he became
a sort of breakwater
against which the savage waves
of unthinking rejection
broke continuously.   

Have no fear!
The meaning of that encouragement
reverberated
through the inner recesses
until the body was lifeless
and the Father had run to receive him
at the crossing
through the waters.


Remember Me

Countless meals
with him
the host and honoured guest
of many gatherings
     shared with friends and disciples
     the weak and the profligate
as he walked in and out
of the villages and towns.

Of course
no one would ever forget
the Last one
sombre
pre-figuring the impending tragedy
and yet -
a sharing of joy and hope
not yet completely destroyed
by the events that followed
so swiftly
     betrayal
     and death.

But in the vindication
     and in the breathing
     of Spirit
     for our rebirth
the joy returned
a hundredfold
and as the kingdom enlarges
     one by one
he is known as for the first time
     in the Supper
his life shared
in forgiveness and friendship
     every time.

Did you say
that his command was
'Remember me'?
How could we not
as with him
we praise God
     for all the marvellous works
     done in his name
drawing countless new friends
to share the new life
     offered to all
     without price.
Just let him in
who knocks at the door
so that we can say
to the Father
and to each other
     in joy and thanksgiving
     in the Spirit
'The Lord is here!'


And they recognised him

The grass around the lake was green
but soon
the heat of summer
would burn it up
and in the hills
there would only be scrub.

Galilee -
     the place of his birth
          his growing up
          work and ministry
               and transfiguration.

We were resting
and gazing out
over the blue waters of the Lake
having just celebrated the supper
     in memory of him
     by the shore.

Somehow
here, in Galilee,
we were closer to him
than in the celebrated
holy places of the south -
     - in Jerusalem.

Of course in Jerusalem
the place of the dénouement
when the weakness of God
confronted the terror of humankind
          its sin and evil
there were moving experiences
following in his steps
to Golgotha.

But now
here in Galilee
three men
were launching their boat
further down the shore
preparing to fish.

We watched as the boat reached
the middle of the lake
and turned northwards towards
the incoming water
from Lebanon
where there would be fish.

It was a moment of disclosure
here, this morning,
by the lake
     where it all began.
Here
the Lord
     who called fishermen
     to be his disciples
     and friends
was so obviously
the whole person
who was challenging us
by his gospel -
not separated from us in imagination
     by the events
     commemorated
and by the seasons
     of birth
     passion and
     resurrection
following one another
in orderly
annual
procession.

We were beginning to be convinced -
that all those events
etched in the memory
as we followed in his steps
have meaning
because, in Galilee,
     where once he had promised
     to meet his friends
we had recognised him -
in the overlap
     of the seasons
     and commemorations
- found among the living.

"Do not hold me"

Lord, in the garden
Mary exclaimed,
astonished,
    "Rabboni!"
But you replied,
    "Do not hold me."

It was going to be some time
before we were used to
    your presence
    with us
everywhere
and with everyone
and without the need
to hold on to you.

Previously
there were encounters
    and friendships
in the normal course of affairs.
You will remember
when you called
to the small of stature tax man
sitting in a sycamore tree
    "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down;
    for I must stay at your house today."

Always there were meals
with those who
were counted as outcasts,
as well as with honoured friends -
a regular feature
of your progress
through villages and towns -
completed
    by that last meal,
full of the foreboding
of betrayal and death.

But the Father vindicated you
in your life
and through death
to be
    'the First and the Last
    the living one.'

So, on the shore of Galilee
you were present
as your disciples
worked,
    fishing.
As if the relationship with you
had ended in death.
And you spoke to them
inviting them -
    "Come and have breakfast."

On the road to Emmaus
while their hearts burned within them
    at the things you said
the two disciples recognized you
    as you blessed and broke bread.

Every time,
today,
with no need to hold on to you,
in the meal of Eucharist
we surround you
    come at your invitation
    to worship
and to give thanks
with you
to the Father.

Every time,
today,
with outstretched hands
	it is you
who bring us into
a relationship of love -
	shared
with you
and your friends -
	sealed
in bread
and cup
of life.
Glory!

Rabboni!

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