No Ordinary Sundays

Before you lies my strength and my weakness; preserve the one, heal the other. Before you lies my knowledge and my ignorance; where you have opened to me, receive me as I come in; where you have shut to me, open to me as I knock. Let me remember you, let me understand you, let me love you. Increase these things in me until you refashion me entirely.

Saint Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity

We do not call these Sundays ordinary:
transfigured by revelation, by mystery,
they stand apart.

By these days we set
our calendars, and, in the old days, we said,
In Hilary term, or, Before Trinity.

Order is set by extraordinary.
Order in all things,
and yet, in all ordinary things –

some unexceptional people gathered,
music played, some prayers prayed,
some words spoken, some soon forgotten –

extraordinary creeps in, is always the silent witness.
What Augustine knew, we often forget:
community right at Godhead’s heart,

found, reflected, in our meagre parts,
a knowledge too rich for understanding,
coming, and standing,

where we stand. O hold us now;
for nothing else
makes sense unless You remake us.

20 Contemplations #10: Joy

image
Anselm Kiefer, "Resumptio"

Delight the Spirit feels in constant burst:
Delight in Three, delight in all that’s good.
And as the Son descends, is born, is God,
Delight the Spirit feels at last, at first.
Joy of Spirit fractures Earth’s rehearsed
Ways of being happy. Earth gives a nod
To God, then walks the path that Adam trod.
Spirit breaks the world’s disguising curse:
Where fair is foul and foul is fair, it sounds
Like clanging noise, but hear the rhythmic joy
That dances in between the plaintive theme.
The theme of joy is shrouded, yet abounds;
It sleeps within the heart of infant boy
And whispers in the truest child dreams.

20 Contemplations #9: Logos

image
Marc Chagall, "Clock and Blue Wings"

“…before Abraham was, I am.”
(John 8:58)

Eternity enters the human timeframe.
Before movement had matter, He was:
No beginning or conclusion; the same
Yesterday, today, before all days.
Even the hands of clocks he moves, sustains;
And now He enters: the watchmaker within
The mechanism; the infinite contained.
Time baffles at the sight; where do we begin
To grasp what does not begin? Yet He brings
Himself to us, to see, be seen. In one
Instant, this entropic way of things
Is opened by the entrance of the Son.
And now, contained inside a human womb,
The endless one irradiates Time’s tomb…

20 Contemplations #6: At Creation

dc4fd837acc33da77416f59eb803c67e
Anselm Kiefer, “Heaven on Earth (Himmel auf Erden)”

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:3)

First birdsong and flight; new heavens groaning;
These things we cannot see. They precede
Sight, consciousness. All we know, he exceeds:
The Face behind the flame and the foaming.
Nothing made without Him: He moves across
Astronomy and microscope, photon
And planet, from star-studded sky to cross.
Is all this beyond us? Yet He is known;
Takes first steps, like Adam; like Adam, bleeds;
Descends to the stable, ascends the Tree;
Comes to His creation; it knows Him not,
Despised, rejected, a thing forgot.
No fanfare: behold the silent babe
In whom all things were made that were made.

 

20 Contemplations #5: Rhythm of the Three

Albrecht_Dürer_-_The_Trinity_(NGA_1943.3.3674)
Albrecht Dürer – The Trinity

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
(John 1:18)

“I and the Father are one.” Such mystery
Finds no answer in biology. Why
Not “I and my mother”? One for a time,
Yet divided at birth, distinct in history.
No, “I and the Father”: one in memory,
In substance and rhythm. Defying rhyme,
They split. The Son descends; the downward climb
Disrupts, unites. The Son descends to me…

A backward glance? What has He left behind?
Yet what is set before Him too: a feast,
Many sons and daughters brought to light.
One being, rent asunder; perfect mind
Never faults in purpose, west to east;
The Three-in-One, creation’s heart delight.

20 Contemplations #1: Colours of the Father

What do you see? He is invisible

Yet all creation knows Him. Listen:

The birds slow their flight for Him; leaves glisten

In all His coloured light. Impossible

Strains of symmetry glide through chaos: simple

In their dignity, yet rich in vision.

Catch the smallest glimpse, the grandest impression:

He is more – glorious, indivisible.

Eye cannot see; microscope cannot capture

Yet soon He will break from Godhead to be

Zygotic, a blip. Consider the rapture,

The folly. Look at the Father and see

The crimson of life, the brown of this hay,

The exploding grace of the rainbow.

Doxa

White though simple carries every colour.
Glory – small word – is manifold.
Break apart light and find prismatic wonder.
None of this has words.

What then? What sounds can be made to stir hearts?
The Word – singular yet many pleats,
Many rooms – beams and breathes from beginning.
How can we reveal?

We cannot. Only delight. The revealing is done
So revel, marvel. Stand back in amaze.
No tweet. In an instant, a gram of this can be lost
Yet Glory’s weight compels.

Throw off light and momentary. Minds explode with triune truth.
Saying is simple; sound has many ripples.
Light waves and darts and ruins categories.
Your first and only crime was to ignore true Glory.
Stop. Be blown away.