Peace and the Thorn

“Mellow out,” they say. If I only could. Adolescent patient quoted by Dr Michael Piechowski Three times, the Apostle, says he cried,yet three times denied:within his side the unnamed thorn remained.To fester? To infect? No, to be the site of grace,for only this reply came: My grace is sufficient; in your weakness will my powerContinue reading “Peace and the Thorn”

Damascus 2: Pentecost

I missed the flames that day, was at my books, learning the whys and wherefores of Law, determined that every subscript iota would not be neglected when I stood before God. The Spirit blows wherever it wills. Mine was the letter, not the wind. When, years later, I clutched letters in hand, I held everyContinue reading “Damascus 2: Pentecost”

Damascus 1

Something ends here: paused mid-threat, flung groundward, the man called Saul can breathe no more murder while the horse kicks up its hooves and he points his arms half-desperate at heaven. Something begins here yet it looks altogether like dying: the fall, the pervasive dark, the eyes failing to see, and yet the spirit cognisantContinue reading “Damascus 1”

Rainy Day Sermon

The text is darker in this weather,      more emphatic, as though while he wrote, outside prison walls Saint Paul             saw the fall of some Ephesian rain-drops and thought:             If my plea should fall on hard soil… Did he see the runaway slave      in the wet, uncertain, standing at his master’s door,Continue reading “Rainy Day Sermon”

Damascus Road Prayers: Lilyo (Midnight Prayer)

Behold all that are asleep, awake and rise to sing praise… (From Psalm 148, Midnight Prayer liturgy, Syriac Orthodox Church) Could we have seen it coming? Was our slumber too deep? Midnight’s for sleeping, yet You do not sleep, nor did You sleep as boundaries changed and names were rearranged. You did not sleep asContinue reading “Damascus Road Prayers: Lilyo (Midnight Prayer)”

Damascus Road: Cradle, Body, Light

Your garments glisten, my brethren, as snow;—and fair is your shining in the likeness of Angels. (St Ephraim the Syrian, “Hymn for the Baptised”) You are the light of the world; you are the body of Life. The persecutor kicked you; you kick within yourself, yet you remain – kept, preserved; you cannot be hidden. You are the beatenContinue reading “Damascus Road: Cradle, Body, Light”

Eikon

No mirror to reflect, no voice, only      dust, sculpted by hands,                              crafted by plan. No self-stirring spirit, no knowledge,     no thrust, only dust, fingerprinted, moulded –   with tears and with blood    and with sweat – now we stand,                     heart and body, earthenware image, dust reflecting       in praise.

From Ashes 12: Metamorphosis and Sophronismos – Neuroplasticity and the Renewed Mind

As I approach my 30th birthday, which brings with it much reflection on all that God has done in my life so far, I have found myself drawn again to one of the most well-worn parts of my the Bible – Psalm 139. For many, this is their favourite psalm, and it is certainly oneContinue reading “From Ashes 12: Metamorphosis and Sophronismos – Neuroplasticity and the Renewed Mind”

From Ashes 11: The Poor in Spirit and the Fainting Minister

Poverty in spirit is the porch of the temple of blessedness…Till we are emptied of self we cannot be filled with God. Stripping must be worked upon us before we can be clothed with the righteousness which is from Heaven. (C.H. Spurgeon, “The First Beatitude”) I remember a dream I had once, when I wasContinue reading “From Ashes 11: The Poor in Spirit and the Fainting Minister”

From Ashes Part 2: Black Bile and Tears

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, Raze out the written troubles of the brain And with some sweet oblivious antidote Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart? (William Shakespeare, Macbeth) Melancholy, though it so weakens and disorders the mind, asContinue reading “From Ashes Part 2: Black Bile and Tears”