Wanting to write and not being able to write are moments that I now accept. It’s a void space of knowing not which way to go, I’m without direction and without prayer. What has been on my mind I do feel compelled to write about and this has been spurned on by reading one of Malcolm’s poems from ‘The Singing Bowl’ about the old altar, “Communion Table, St Edward’s, Cambridge”.
Sat here in my little garden, in a rare and longed for moment of sunshine, Malcolm’s poem stuck with me and here, on my old and weather worn garden table I had already placed a small bowl of water, a candle, a terracotta bowl of burning incense and a dried red rose. ‘Here’s the old forgotten altar’ I thought and I set about drawing the image in my mind – the rose of Mary Magdalene, the Living Water and our prayers offered in incense on an old altar that has not been forgotten and often honoured and remembered by the women down the ages whilst the men raged on in theological battles.
We have one today in my own Diocese … ‘new expressions’, ‘pioneer ministers’ or whatever they want to call it, in a bid to get young blood in the door at a huge sacrifice to the already attending faithful. It is not the change but the way it has been done, at the expense of others’ spirituality (already a delicate thing in today’s society). Liturgy has survived for over one thousand years and will do so for a lot longer. I remember the words of John Philip Newell in his new book, “The Rebirthing of God”, that the Church will fall away but it is our duty to ensure Christ continues whatever the latest fad or finance pushes onto us.
Diary entry and painting on the old table.
The link to Malcolm’s sonnet, here it is called “This Table”, and is the fourth sonnet on this page.
John Philip’s website can be found here.