Christmas 8: Order my beginning

Another year begins, and today we have a special piece of music to see in the new year: Bach’s Cantata for New Year’s Day, Part IV of his spectacular Christmas Oratorio. This cantata takes as its theme the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, but as often happens with Bach the story is explored throughContinue reading “Christmas 8: Order my beginning”

Christmas 6: Nunc Dimittis

The story of Simeon has given the church one of its oldest hymns, called the “Nunc Dimittis”, after the first two Latin words of the song: “Now dismiss…” There have been many musical versions of Simeon’s song, but today’s poem takes as its inspiration a modern setting by the living Swiss composer Carl Rütti. Rütti’sContinue reading “Christmas 6: Nunc Dimittis”

“The thick darkness where God was”

This is what must first be given to the painting, a harmonious warmth, an abyss into which the eye sinks, a voiceless germination… (Paul Cézanne) How often is he shown with those horns of light, as though his head were itself full of the brightest luminescence and two cracks, two holes had formed inside his skullContinue reading ““The thick darkness where God was””

Mental Health November Week 1: Anxiety

This year, the people behind Movember are having a particular focus on men’s mental health, a topic close to my heart. So, while I won’t be shaving off my beard to grow a new mo from scratch, I have decided to take a handful of my old poems on mental illness and give one ofContinue reading “Mental Health November Week 1: Anxiety”

20 Contemplations #20: Enlighten

Arise, shine, for your light has come… (Isaiah 60:1a) Then the Glory opens up, and the exposition begins…after the sheaves of night, the spirals of anxiety, here the triumph of love and the tears of joy – all the passion of our arms around the Invisible!… (Olivier Messiaen) Do you see a star unlike theContinue reading “20 Contemplations #20: Enlighten”

20 Contemplations #19: Sleep, Wake

I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking… (Song of Solomon 5:2a) The world sleeps, but still some wise men gaze out unto the beckoning sky, and some still wake to hear the door pounding, night humm- ing in active grace of years. No doubt, the gentleness of the stars willContinue reading “20 Contemplations #19: Sleep, Wake”

20 Contemplations #18: Anointing

In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness… God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. (Psalm 45:4a, 7b) Do not be deceived. He comes in meekness now to expose the proud. He sleeps among the donkeys and cattle now; soon theContinue reading “20 Contemplations #18: Anointing”

2o Contemplations #17:

…the music seems to come out of the silence like the colors come out of the night… (Olivier Messiaen) After such a climax, what reflection? Light refracts from His glory; sun and moon bow. Let all mortal flesh keep silent. Soon, very soon, we shall see His intention erupt in purposed rapture. Explosion of brightness dancingContinue reading “2o Contemplations #17:”