I received a letter in French, not very good at French, I think it said that this account was inactive and would be deleted, so I thought I'd better make it active again and see whether it finds salvation or deletion. Then I might think about updating a bit more - or not.
It was one of those days. I had decided that I should join the 8 am congregation at The Chapel of Unity and so set off for the Cathedral only to discover that my usual car park was closed for the Olympics - delegates only, no locals allowed. So parking elsewhere, I arrived late and discovered that the morning service was a Roman Catholic Mass and knew therefore that those of us not properly baptised would be denied. I knew they would offer a blessing, but that is scant compensation for worthlessness and as usual I refused - irritated.
I had some time afterwards before I was due at St. Andrew’s to lead Morning Prayers. So I parked at Hearsall Common to ponder this letter. I had been playing with ideas leading on from Summer School and General Assembly about belonging to a United denomination that is struggling to hold differences in tension, manage a budget deficit, create radical welcome and maintain a national identity with the theme “For Christ’s Sake” - so piously said in so many places but which I only hear as a cry of exasperation.
And then my radio switched off. With a heavy heart I turned the ignition - nothing; stranded, powerless. I rang St. Andrew’s to apologise, rang my breakdown - but that was a call too many for my mobile battery. disempowered, unconnected. I walked to a phone box; no handset. I walked to a friends house; no reply and then to St. Andrew’s where at last I could get the help I needed - a phone line and hope of recovery!
All of which was minor irritation in the great scheme but a preaching poet needs inspiration for the muse and this weeks diary quote from G K Chesterton brought a little more, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly” and the result is the poem that follows.
Angels lightly fly from chained gate to bounded heart;
and are denied boarding, refused entry by earthly tensions
.... for Christ’s Sake!
Angels brightly smile at irritation and broken order
and are diverted around closed routes by powerless guides
... for Christ’s Sake!
Angels gaily gather disconnected worthless blessings
and are recoverers of hopeless under-charged unity
... for Christ’s Sake!
Angels carelessly flit from crafted resolution to contested decision
as shapers of beautiful struggling unfixed community
... for Christ’s sake!
Angels delicately disentangle needles from brambles
and so their liberation is tethered to our rooted rootlessness
... for Christ’s sake!
Angels lightly land on
gateless hearts, irritating order, ungathered hopes
contested crafts, entangled shrubs
and enable cracks where the light sneaks in
.... for Christ’s sake
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I enjoy gardens. The scent of green grass beneath feet, the abruptness of bursting shrubs as insects flit and birds gather, children play; being surprised by shape, colour, space; the wonder of life and enjoyment of creation.
In making gardens; I don’t mind a bit of early planning and digging and shifting - the pleasure of hard work, muscles aching, sweat creation. But I can’t be bothered with the fiddly stuff, picking weeds, trimming borders, fussing over the minutia of exactly which plant pot should be where. I’d rather scatter seed than individually plant each one, I’ll happily leave such labour for someone else but enjoy the end product.
I love to feel rainfall soaking into the ground, making love, running across footpaths, conceiving streams, refreshing plant-life, giving birth. I love the tingle of electricity in the air, the crack and the boom, warm rain cascading in torrents. Yet I can feel the sadness of a dull drizzly, keep-in, stay warm day - there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
I love to feel the sun warming the earth, steam rising to be carried on the breeze, bare feet on hot grass, bird song and insect hum, warmth against pale skin. The freshness of morning, the glow of lazy evening. Yet when the sun burns hot in the day, I hide in the shade and wish for rain.
I love to watch a river flow towards the sea. It is the residue of rainfall, the run away, the soaked earth’s surplus. Giving life to unseen plants and creatures below it’s flowing surface. I guess some will be snared to appear from my tap, whilst much will replenish the sea before being captured by the sun and returned as rainfall - nothing wasted, nothing unneeded, ever flowing cycle of creation and re-creation means I can enjoy this garden on a cool damp April day.