Praise by R.S. Thomas
I praise you because
you are artist and scientist
in one. When I am somewhat
fearful of your power,
your ability to work miracles
with a set-square, I hear
you murmuring to yourself
in a notation Beethoven
dreamed of but never achieved.
You run off your scales of
rain water and sea water, play
the chords of the morning
and evening light, sculpture
with shadow, join together leaf
by leaf, when spring
comes, the stanzas of
an immense poem. You speak
all languages and none,
answering our most complex
prayers with the simplicity
of a flower, confronting
us, when we would domesticate you
to our uses, with the rioting
viruses under our lens.
Now that I am thinking about RS Thomas I thought I would post another of my favourites. Read this poem a couple of times… it is just wonderful.
I love the beauty and the power of Thomas’s imagery. Here we read of a God who is complex beyond our imagination, who is out of the reach of science.
This God murmurs to himself “in a notation Beethoven dreamed of but never achieved”. He makes music in the rainwater and the waves. He sculpts with the shadows. He puts spring together for us …leaf by leaf… like a poet composing an epic poem.
He is the God of all human language but also the God beyond language… who speaks through his creation – “answering our most complex prayers with the simplicity of a flower”.
And we cannot domesticate him. We cannot define him or box him up -when we try, we will always discover more. God (like his creation) will riot when we put him under the microscope… growing bigger… multiplying before our amazed eyes.
I am humbled beyond words to worship such a God.
Picture is ‘cool, cool water’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
i was happy before
in the ignorance of not knowing
i was living without you
you are more present
in your absence
than any of the things around me
that i can touch with certainty
at any time
the emptiness left by the imprint of your soul
has become the shape in which
i live my life.
Another wonderful poem from Cheryl at hold this space.
I love her stuff because it works on so many different levels.
This poem could be about the precious relationship/friendship that shattered… the death of a loved one… separation from family or friends. Their presence lingers… their influence still shaping the present and the future.
It also has echoes of R.S. Thomas and Via Negativa (Negative Theology). (If you read my old blog you will know how much I love Thomas’s poetry). Thomas speaks of a God who is wholly present in his absence, knowable in his hiddenness and who speaks in silence.
He is “the darkness between stars”.
We follow “the echoes…the footprints he has just left…”
Why no! I never thought other than
That God is that great absence
In our lives, the empty silence
Within, the place where we go
Seeking, not in hope to
Arrive or find. He keeps the interstices
In our knowledge, the darkness
Between stars. His are the echoes
We follow, the footprints he has just
Left. We put our hands in
His side hoping to find
It warm. We look at people
And places as though he had looked
At them, too; but miss the reflection.
Via Negativa (R.S. Thomas)
Picture is ‘tiptoe through the shallows’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
When we’ve finished
debating and deliberating
moderating and pontificating
When we’ve crossed every last T
and dotted every last i
God hangs on in there
And when we stop for a moment
and acknowledge that
we cannot control the world
God stuns us
with the beauty of creation
peeping out from behind clouds
romping over sand dunes
rippling on the water
and slots into place
and we are besotted again
with the God of mystery
is all around
even when we’re not looking
and whose wonder
saves us from ourselves
and all our plans
and lifts us up
to higher things.
(Liz Crumlish June 2011)
Wonderful slice of perspective from the wonderful Liz at Journalling … inspired (believe it or not) by a presbytery meeting (albeit one which ended with fish and chips in Girvan)!!
I think I might pin this up on my study wall to remind myself that beyond meetings and paperwork and debate… beyond agendas and report writing and all those moments when you want to scream out loud… God IS.
Photo is ‘one day at a time‘ (from the beachlife set) by Mike Lockie on Flickr
the Christ in me
greets the Christ in you.
as deep calls out to deep
so you call out to me.
made in the image of God,
glorious creatures created with love
and for love.
this is the hope of glory.
be compassionate towards yourself,
you are deeply loved.
try to rest in the thought
that you don’t have to be anyone,
or accomplish anything to receive it.
take your time…
this is probably the hardest thing
you will ever have to not do.
Taken from a reflection by Sarah at Every Little Wonder. I liked this partly because it incorporates part of a verse from one of my favourite psalms:
“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me”.(Psalm 42:7)
I also liked the sentiments expressed… how something deep within us stirs (or should stir) in response to the depths of the love of God. And when you find the courage to accept God’s love by faith you can just “be”.
Deep calls to deep when you recognise Christ in another person… in someone who seeks God with you and through you and beside you. And with that person you can just “be”.
Photo is ‘Ardrossan sand and sky’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
Still on a ‘travel’ theme, here is a wonderful creed written by Australian writer and theologian Dorothy McRae-McMahon (and found in this book” by Peter Millar):
We believe in God
who takes our smallest moment of hope
and grows it forth like a tree
with spreading branches
for the sheltering of new life.
We believe in Jesus Christ
who walks tall amongst us,
seen in our faces, felt in our hearts,
bedded deep in the longing of our souls
for all that is true, just and full of hope.
We believe in the Holy Spirit
who waits on our moments of openness
and springs into the unknowns
with joy and delight,
that we may be called on
beyond where we thought we could go
where every step is walked on holy ground.
A creed for the journey which reminds us that whatever we face in life we can draw on the amazing grace of the God who travels with us into the unknown… the God of life and hope… the God of joy and delight.
Picture is ‘walk through the shadows and into the light’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
Following on from yesterday’s poem, a blessing for Friday from Cheryl at holdthisspace
we leave today
going into a future
as yet unmapped
take faith with you as you go;
into the parts of your life not yet travelled by love
into the parts of the world unexplored by grace
let compassion and hope be the roads that you follow
today and always
Picture is ‘the start of the walk’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
Forgive us that narrowness of vision
which sees only the clouds
and misses the rainbows
(A saying from Guatemala)
It is often in places of suffering, despair and uncertainty that Christ’s hope bursts through. It is easy to miss the rainbows in our midst when life is comfortable or when the circumstances of our life threaten to overwhelm us.
Yet God’s presence permeates every aspect of life. We just need eyes to see that behind all reality lies the mystery of God’s abiding.
Photo is ‘promise’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr (a rainbow seen over the roof of Ealing Common tube station)