Psalm: Chorale (The Cornucopia of Heaven)

Early on Saturday morning, the fire brigade was called to my church – a 150-year-old heritage-listed building on the corner of one of Melbourne’s most iconic streets, and the building which my fiancée and I recently booked to celebrate our marriage. That day, the Bible reading my church family was looking at in our devotional times was Luke 12:22-34, a passage which I, by pure coincidence, found myself writing about in my poem for that day. No-one could possibly have known how pertinent that passage would be to us. Our church still stands, but we will not be able to worship together there for a year at least. It is a time of mourning for all of us. Yet, when we gathered together yesterday as a whole church community in St Paul’s Cathedral and read Luke 12:22-34 again, we were reminded of the glorious truth of God’s promises to His people. This world’s treasures, even church buildings, will all be destroyed one day. But our Father has been pleased to give us the kingdom. Today I am posting two poems to reflect on this truth. Here is the first.

 

Psalm: Chorale

After J.S. Bach, “BWV 69: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele”

 

This morning

I awoke to a harpsichord of birdthrum,

the air alight with strings, a wall

of horns against the trees

 

and phoenixes in

the distance praised in trumpet-hope.

Toices twirled and twined around

the fretful day, where fire

 

(and moth and rust)

destroy the treasures of our day.

Singing like the newly born, the birds

cared nothing for death.

 

Every day new,

they promised what no night will tarnish:

a day of every harmony resolved

and hope that fire cannot take.

 

Psalm: Lilies (The Cornucopia of Heaven)

Lilies and peonies by Guiseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) Wikimedia Commons
Lilies and peonies by Guiseppe Castiglione (1688-1766)
Wikimedia Commons

After Antonio Vivaldi, “Le Quattro Stagioni – La Primavera: II. Largo”

 Creator God, whose praise and power are proclaimed by the whole creation: receive our morning prayers, we pray…

(A Prayer Book for Australia)

Consider         how the lilies open –

Watch them enter     into light…

Solomon

in all his        splendour

was not robed like these.

Consider,    also           fleeting sparrows:

not gathering,                  not  daring night.

Watch sparrows                    dance

across these flowers –

watch as dew           sings praise.

O sing, and be                        in quiet hours

witnesses       of lily-joy..

Consider how            the lilies       open –

watch, and praise Him

in light…

The Cornucopia of Heaven – Prayer of Preparation

Camille Pissarro, "The Harvest" Wikimedia Commons
Camille Pissarro, “The Harvest”
Wikimedia Commons

Prayer of Preparation

After Gustav Holst, “Psalm 86: To My Humble Supplication”

Teach my dullness, guide my blindness

(Joseph Bryan)

We
begin small –

a seed,
a pod,
a bud,

soon bursting, soon
breaking
out into light.

Hear strings rise. Hear spirits lift
their weary, slowing hands.
See the sun open up the day.
See the Son open up

the way –

Almighty God

Lord, our souls are faint.
The day is bright, the sunlight blinds
and we have little voice to cry.

Hear and cleanse –

Cleanse our hearts,
the thoughts of hearts –
Magnify Your grace in us
that we may magnify Your name.

Teach,
O Lord,
our dullness, guide
our blindness
in this blinding day.

Hear our spirits soar
the more
for all our desperate crying out.

O Lord, our rain
in reigning drought:
in brokenness we cry, we shout –

O hear…

the strings of every aching one,
the strains of breath,
the stains of death.

We cry
and long – for all
desire is laid before Your throne.

Lift our hearts:
we lift our hearts

into Your shining day.

Morning Heart (After Rowan Williams’ “First Thing”)

In my last steps of dream, I am running,
carefully conscious of each footstep,
prayers in sync with my hesitant freedom.
Steps unfold as sun gathers mind up;
day summons up the light to enter, to command.
Yet first the halfway time, the thought
that what the day holds in its hands can hurt
more than night, more than the half-death
of sleep. Prayer holds; dream’s footsteps linger
and patter the day into being. Rise:
the night has not crushed, the sun will not harm.
Unknowing morning beckons.