Meditations

Easter 2020                                                                                                                                                                                          

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?

Not lost in our locked churches, anymore

Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.

The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,

And he is up and risen, long before,

Alive, at large, and making his strong way

Into the world he gave his life to save,

No need to seek him in his empty grave.

 

He might have been a wafer in the hands

Of priests this day, or music from the lips

Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips

Away from church, shakes off our linen bands                                                                                                                                 

To don his apron with a nurse: he grips

And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands

The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,                                                                                                                                      

Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.

 

On Thursday we applauded, for he came

And served us in a thousand names and faces

Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces

Of that corona which was death to him:

Good Friday happened in a thousand places

Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them

That they might share his Easter in their need,

Now they are risen with him, risen indeed.

Malcolm Guite   https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2020/04/12/easter-2020-a-new-poem/ 

The picture is a response to this poem by the artist Bruce Herman

 

Meditation on the closing of churches

 

Churches may be glad of the stillness.                                                                                                 

These great stone ships seldom have the chance to

hunker down into replenishing silence.

 

Christianity is too talkative. Noisy religion.

The Society for Standing Up and Sitting Down Again.

The Society for Annunciation of a Momentary Silence

 

You see your empty church and see shipwreck

And think that because you are not there in linen robes

with rehearsals of creeds, that prayer is not there.

 

But your churches and temples are not empty.     

Silence is there. Praying in her many houses.

Clergy nor creed nor any religion own Her.

Stillness beyond all religion,

Yet deeply at its core,

Even while you fill temples with the clatter of words.

 Let Silence be the guardian and keeper of these stone vessels.

She who keeps the stillness on the ocean’s floor

Who tends the cave where no noise echoes because no noise enters

Hers is the aching heart that hides ancient atomic groan

And her home, the rest between the beats in every heartbeat

Look out to the stars beyond the stars and listen

Listen to Her listening to the listening of your own

 

Go within and find Her in the hush.

In the breath of alleluia in the night

In the inhalation of hope before waking

Hers is the softness between the breath.

And the hidden quiet light that lingers at a death

 

Do not fret about your empty church.

Silence holds the space holy

And always did.

She holds all things and mourns all things

She is in all things

She holds every story but her own.

She knows each name, with no need to know her own

Let Silence guard the stillness and the stones.

While you care for the bereaved and those full of fear

That is your creaturely task. The task of all who call each to be priest to each and every other.

 

And when the great keys are turned, the wooden doors re-open,

Tread gently. Do not rush to fill the stillness

 

The great stone ships held their prayer for you.

They bade the Absolute to enter in.

They prayed with you.

 

Honour them with silence of your own.

 

Gilo, the Co-Editor of Letters to a Broken Church