Christmas 6: How we grow

And Mary treasured in her heartthe mystery, the sheerbeyondness of what she held and did not hold.He already moved from her grasp,wiser than her and Joseph combined,outsmarting his teachers,taking himself off for theological talks,when she had hardly finished feeding him.Only time stood between her and total loss, onlyyears before a sword would pierceher own soulContinue reading “Christmas 6: How we grow”

Christmas 10: Sit at my right hand

“The LORD says to my Lord…” (Psalm 110:1). These are surely some of the more mysterious words to appear in the Bible. Who is the second Lord to whom the writer, King David, is referring? Who could even be understood to be David’s Lord apart from God, the LORD? David, after all, was king ofContinue reading “Christmas 10: Sit at my right hand”

20 Contemplations #11: Communion

…Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19) I hold You; I bore You. Yet You cannot be held by me. The story told from first honours me but exalts You more: a dot at the start, impossibly small, yet burst- ing with life. How could this all be? IContinue reading “20 Contemplations #11: Communion”

20 Contemplations #7: Crux

…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8) Did He view the Cross from birth? Did crossbeams In the stable tell Him where He’d go? Did He see the Cross in treetops’ glow As He flew to earth from Heaven’s beams? Perhaps as Joseph carvedContinue reading “20 Contemplations #7: Crux”

20 Contemplations #4: Magnify

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. (Luke 1:29) Magnify, soul. Let mind expand; let heart Take in what cannot be contained. Discern, Yet know the limits of your thoughts. Return Again, again, to faith. Take humble part In grandest story. This isContinue reading “20 Contemplations #4: Magnify”

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

For most people, Christmas is now over. The supermarkets are already stocking hot cross buns. But in the traditional church calendar, today is the last day of the season of Christmas – a season lasting twelve days, as we remember in the old song. Why remember Christmas for twelve days instead of one? If nothingContinue reading “On the Twelfth Day of Christmas”

Luke 1: Zechariah and Mary

No surprise, perhaps, that the impossible’s not a boundary    for the one who lit stars and sculpted the mountains,           watered – drew water from –    our rock. Yet unexpected now, this figure in temple,       in dreams, beholding and saying what’s seldom been said, more seldom believed: The barren with child? AContinue reading “Luke 1: Zechariah and Mary”

Esurientes implevit bonis (After J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in E-flat)

Two women who knew the truth of a God who exalts the humble were Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. Both were unlikely mothers, one a virgin, the other barren and ridiculed by her husband’s other wife, Penninah. When Mary heard the news that she was bearing theContinue reading “Esurientes implevit bonis (After J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in E-flat)”

“She pondered all these things in her heart” (After Luci Shaw’s “Mary Considers Her Situation”)

The virgin sat,the angel’s wordsshimmering around the room. She fancied now that Danielmight have shared her trembling heartwhen Gabriel had spoken truth which did not fully sooth. The prophets spoke of shoots from stumpsand virgins bearing Israel’s sign,and yet she’d never heard her name connected with such wondrous things,too wonderful for her to bearand truthsContinue reading ““She pondered all these things in her heart” (After Luci Shaw’s “Mary Considers Her Situation”)”

Uncertainty (After Luci Shaw’s “The Annunciatory Angel”)

As we begin the season of Advent, I thought it would be fitting to begin with some Advent-themed poems. The first is based on Luci Shaw’s “The Annunciatory Angel”, which itself is a response to Fra Angelico’s painting “The Annunciation”. Though inspired by Shaw’s poem, I have gone back to the original painting and writtenContinue reading “Uncertainty (After Luci Shaw’s “The Annunciatory Angel”)”