20 Contemplations #20: Enlighten

All_Saints_I_1911
Wassily Kandinsky, “All Saints”

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 the others?
Have you watched through the ages, longing to see
this revelation, this epiphany?
To some without eyes, the night smothers;
and now, true, it lurks behind covers
of dark. But others, it beckons vividly:
those who press on through the dark, finally
to see the Morning resting yet nonethe-
less glorious, soon to shine all its Day
on mankind, those once far and those once near…
The silence is over; the patience yawns
for the fruits of dawn in sparkling array.
Be still before Him, newborn sons of dawn,
transfigured together, history made clear.

 

Catechism 41

lordsprayer

What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

(New City Catechism)

 

Hands upraised,        hands open
        imploring              yet worshipping
receiving              yet giving
        asking                 yet content
forgiven               and forgiving
        on earth,              as it is in heaven;
now                    forever
        delivered             yet
              daily caught in moments’ fear…

Our Father     here    and Heaven’s king:
            teach us how to pray.

Epiphany: To an unknown painter

Unknown 16th century German painter, Wikimedia Commons
Unknown 16th century German painter, Wikimedia Commons

Too regal:
There were no drapes to hail Him king,
no cherubim in the background, aloft,
casually decking the scene, mid-song.

Yet this is right: if there were crowns,
they would be laid at His feet; and knees,
if wise, would know to bend.

We foresee the pious, in the corners, turned
toward their future king; and a long journey figured
in streets and hills, and horses mounting them.

The light’s far off, yet faces seem illumined.
Only the darker ones lack light: an error, this.
Epiphany brightens most the faces least expected here.

Not contained: the cost, the snorts of Herod,
the proud reflex to kill. All this smarts, demands
pensive faces show contrition to be brought here.

Is there room for us? We have no robes, King.
And yet, if cattle may rest above the frankincense,

we may also bow and drink Your light.

Kingdom

The teachers of the law deceive, devour;
The humble king is quizzed on His own law.
The pure in heart see God; the kingdom’s poor
Inherit what the rich lose with their power.
Great David’s greater Son knows that His hour
Is soon to come; He knows the loving score
Composed and tuned by Father’s plan. Before
The throne to come, there must be crowning thorns.
To those who, poor in spirit, turn toward
The face of favour – spat on, slapped and scorned –
By the tender mercy of our God,
In promise, faithful, sure in all darkness,
His dawn will break from high all over us.

Easter Friday

The seed
sown in good soil
dies, yet gives life
thirty, sixty, one hundred times over.

Some seed
will scatter, be lost,
when cares and trials come
to choke, to scorch like sun’s temptation.

Yet seed
which dies gladly
is more than seed, more than earth,
more than the narrowness of our dust’s conceptions…

Easter Thursday

And He reigns!

He reigns in light and in quiet,

in death and in life,

in depth and in height.

 

He reigns in plenty,

He reigns in drought.

He reigns in our faith, reigns in our doubt

and nothing is too big for Him

who rose from death a shining King…

 

Put to death your anguished griefs:

the king who died now lives again

and all time’s tattered woes and fears

can no longer bind His faithful sons.

Easter Wednesday

Some wise men follow, some betray;
some see the star, some walk astray.
Some kings will bow, some kings will kill;
some men will starve, some have their fill.
Some hearts will turn to rock; some stones
will call in praise before His throne.
Our folly becomes wise in Him;
bow down, world’s wise men; know your king.

(Image: Sassetta Giovanni, “Journey of the Magi”)