Ascension Day in Ordinary Times, Easter Season

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Thalassa.

My parish church used to observe such feast days on the actual day with beautiful but simple evening services. My parish is now victim to convenience and these services have been unceremoniously cut from my community’s calendar. It is so wrong to do this. Church is not a Sunday observance which it has fast become. For some people, church during the week in a quiet service was the only way they could attend for a variety of reasons from forced work commitments to hidden persecution, of which persecution on a Sunday still happens today for a Christian. The only church door open for me at the moment is the local Roman Catholic church and that is only because it is now run by a strict patriarchal order of monks – better than nothing? They might not share¬†¬†Communion with me but they give me much needed spiritual space within a sanctuary.

Malcolm’s sonnet for today from his book, ‘Sounding the Seasons’, has me reflecting on the line, ‘whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness’ and I wonder if we really are that any more if the church only observes feast days through convenience on the nearest Sunday? Even the smallest attendance on the right day warrants being a cloud of witness, two or three attending would suffice and by being a presence and by opening the parish church door today we become a witness.

How can we ‘wane darkness into light’ when our own church puts its light under the bushel and hides it behind a closed door? Are we so used to grey days now that we no longer lift our heads to see the sun peeking through the cloud for that brief moment? Does that not make you smile any more, to know that His presence is always there? Do we let the sea overcome us and the waves swell that we no longer understand the right response?

As an addendum, Christ makes me feel uncomfortable in challenging me to respond in the way that I do because I want to feel His joy and not my sorrow. Having said that, if I do not feel uncomfortable then I become stagnant and my growth stops, it is not an easy process. Being a Christian woman is not an easy path, not for me anyway because I am spurned to feel so passionate about particular things and I have to challenge myself why I feel the way I do in order to make sense of my world and Christ within it, and Christ within me. Some days leave me empty.

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My idea stuck for today’s reflection before I read Malcolm’s sonnet but after finding out we had no service tonight for Ascension. Christ as the Light coming through the clouds. I am going to add a veil to the drawing so that we have the invitation to lift it up if we wish to seek Christ. This might not be important for me now at this moment but could be in months to come when I revisit my diaries. The Greek word “Thalassa” is one that has been much misinterpreted and one used as an example in highlighting the importance of the right translation. The tale we had as NT Greek students was that the NIV translated it to ‘waves’ in the passage when Christ tamed the storm (Mark 4:35-41), to the point where it could have been understood that Christ could only command the waves and not the entirety of the seas. Are we then, as witnesses, to behave like waves or to respond collectively like the seas?

Malcolm’s wonderful sonnet can be found here.

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