Ash Wednesday – Lenten Times 2016

IMG_20160212_212632 Ashes and Sand.

Ash Wednesday arrived. I made it to the 10am service and I didn’t realise or think ahead to the solemnness or pilgrimage that it marks the start of. A pilgrimage without a physical walk in the sandstorm that rages within; not so much unknown this time, I am looking to seek out those transgressions that need to be smoothed by the sandstorm. There is no visible way through a sandstorm, all the references for guidance are gone, like in hillfog where the cairns are silent sentinels waiting to be discovered and marking our arrival on the summit to offer shelter.

In this internal sandstorm I know I will have GOD’s cloak to comfort me in times of need and I know that this time I will not be alone even though there will be moments that it will feel that way, I won’t feel totally abandoned and desolate; this time I know that I have to stop and ask Him for His presence and He will be there. Christ will sit by my side to give me strength and courage to move on. Even though I can only offer that moment, one day at a time, He already knows that I will battle with that thought each day and yet, He waits.

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My drawing reflects a momentary glimpse of an image in my mind that trys to depict the precipice of the sandstorm that awaits me or that I am already in. The circular / spiral motif is one that I seem to unconsciously draw time and time again and so I stick with it. In my linear timeframe, Christ gave me a grain of sand and in this was all what He is (long before I was aware of Julian of Norwich’s hazelnut!) and the circular motif was how I tried to convey and share my experience with my prayer guide at the time. It is an image that is significant to me.

I am not following Malcolm Guite’s “The Word in the Wilderness” for Lent this year but I will dive into the poems as his work is always a treasure trove of rich references to theology and literature, thought, poems and reflections that needs our attention because we need it. However, I wholeheartedly recommend that you try it out and bathe in its lavish resources to explore Lent this season x

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Gosh, we had sunshine and warm days last Easter!

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/

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Lenten Diary – Ascension and Pentecost.

IMG_20150704_090031  Crucifixion, Ascension and Living.

Ascension and Pentecost are always difficult to reflect upon but perhaps only sometimes. Ascension is the pinnacle of the Easter season for me – the actualisation of Christ’s true being, of one with the Father. But it is His feet that I focus upon.

His crucified feet show the absolute, raw human suffering with blood, grime, bruising and abuse in such a graphic way that your eye cannot bear the pain.

His resurrected and ascending feet are pure, clean and in childlike innocence as the last physical presence to leave the earthly realm.

Then, His Living feet in every foot on this earth, me and you as His representative. If only we could unclothe our own feet, to touch the dew soft grass in innocence with naked and bare skin so that we can truly feel what it is to be alive in Him in His Creation.

We clothe our feet to hide ourselves from Eden, to shield our self from the painful reality of truly walking in His footsteps in the most difficult aspect of our own pilgrimage – to be truly Christlike.

IMG_20150704_090110 A Trinity of Presence, a Trinity of feet.

Lenten Diary – Holy Week, Easter Sunday 5th April 2015

IMG_20150408_165422 Easter Rising.

I spent the night in a broken feverish sleep. The events of the last couple of weeks had caught up with me, I guess. On my iPad there was a live streaming of the Franciscan Order in the US conducting a rare service enacting the burial of Christ. I understand the Remembrance of a loved one’s passing but a re-enactment of the burial deeply unsettled me and bled into my feverish dreams. Being awake on and off through the night also reflected my desire to attend the 8am spoken service at Church  and the blessing of the new Eucharist Candle. I wasn’t sure I was well enough for the early morning walk but I made it.

Malcolm’s reflection of George Herbert’s “Easter” is a remarkable insight and incredible understanding of Herbert’s language and the depth of theology within this poem. The journey of Lent and Holy Week ‘has only been one day’. From today we wake each morning taking Christ’s hand to guide us through the hours. The song we sing in every fibre of our being is His, my Morning Star.

I should never seek to veil Him within but turn to His Light with every troubled thought and with every joy in the day no matter how small. We have – I have – been on an incredible journey through every emotion yet His Golden Thread was taut within me and His hand grasping mine. This is an expression not justified by words.

It is the art of listening and the art of seeing that I have to practice every moment of every day to acknowledge His presence in my life. And, to accept me for who I am and to know that I am loved. We are all pilgrims. We are Easter People (I love that!). We live for the Resurrection each day. Thanks to Malcolm for this incredible journey, encouraged by his messages and support. Pentecost and Ascension await.

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My drawing gave me some dilemma as to what to portray. I had a good and fixed idea of the rising Morning Star, of a stream in the foreground but I have a desire to make this a bigger piece of work than my notebook page. So, I have revisited a drawing completed at the end of my accompanied Prayer Walk with Portsmouth Diocese’s Inspire Course that I attended. This drawing represents the smallest grain of sand in which Christ occupies. He showed me that He is everywhere, in every drop of water, in every grain of sand. I will try to go from here to recognise this in every day.

IMG_20150308_005621 (c) Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press, 2014.

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Lenten Diary – Holy Week, Easter / Holy Saturday 4th April 2015

IMG_20150408_000253 Easter Fire.

We wait in anticipation for the coming joy in the Resurrection. How wretched Christ’s family must have been on this day. It reflects my own bereavement as I remember my beloved Auntie who had gone to her final rest this past week.

I wrote the above first before reading Malcolm’s reflection and I find that I have echoed his words so I must be connecting at the right level. It is a bizarre day caught in the betwixt and between, that magic space between the moon setting and the sun rising. Malcolm’s two “Stations of the Cross” sonnets, XIII and XIV are exquisite in capturing the absolute epitome of Easter Saturday; his words resonate deeply within me.

‘This is ground zero, emptiness and space

With nothing left to say or think or do,

But look unflinching on the sacred face

That cannot move or change or look at you’.

(“XIII Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross” (c) Malcolm Guite 2014)

We move forward then from the harsh empty Cross to the cold tomb and wait in hope for my Morning Star in the flickering flames of the Easter Fire.

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https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/

IMG_20150308_005621(c) Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press, 2014

Lenten Diary – Holy Week, Good Friday 3rd April 2015

IMG_20150406_170439The Sharing of One Breath.

“He takes our breath away to give it back”

XII, Stations of the Cross, (c) Malcolm Guite, 2012.

The Hebrew word for ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ is the same. I remember this from my first year at University; it seems so long ago now. The sharing of the One Breath. Breathes life into us, takes it from His only Son, gives it back at Pentecost. Malcolm quotes John 20:22. This ‘one breath’ is a universal concept within most indigenous tribes, from the same divine one and only Creator. Breathing, warmth, water, nourishment are the basics of life on Earth. If you think about the Earth’s atmosphere, we all essentially share the same breath at a molecular level though sadly man has managed to pollute a fair proportion of it. We must look at the ecological impact of our greed, do as Jesus said to own nothing but a staff and the clothes on your back, share your wealth and give thanks for what we have.

Life should be simple if we choose love and compassion. The utter emptiness of Good Friday reminds me so harshly how empty and pointless the World is without love and on this empty and desolate day I ask you all to love one another. There is always hope. We retake our vows before the stark and bare empty Cross, in our church it is a simple bare wooden Cross devoid of everything and yet we bow before it.

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My drawing has attempted to portray me – or you – before the Cross but yet, in its starkness it is a living Cross full of life and energy and the One Breath is shared with us all and those who retake their devotion before it.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/

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Lenten Diary – Holy Week, Maundy Thursday 2nd April 2015

IMG_20150406_162718 The First Communion.

“Though we betray him, though it is the night,

He meets us here and loves us into the Light”.

(c) Malcolm Guite, 2012.

Maundy Thursday is such a mixed day. Chrism Mass is about acknowledging each other, praying and supporting each other in Christ and that means in love. It feels like a coming together of the Christian family even if our own families are broken. The historical events of the First Communion is engrained within my emotion. Couple this with today being my Aunt’s funeral makes is a very difficult day.

Today is also a day of betrayal. Today I have felt this on a personal level. Tonight is the Vigil. So many prayers to  be said and so much forgiveness to ask for.

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https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/

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Lenten Diary- Holy Week, Wednesday 1st April 2015

IMG_20150404_154433 Anointing.

Oh gosh. This gets me in the heart every time. John 12:1-8. It makes me want to cry. When we do GOD’s will here, we are anointed with and in Christ. Anointing is a powerful healing for both persons, brokenness is healed, wounds are soothed and new beginnings can be made.

In the healing service today, in this week, was a powerful healing. It is such a simple yet beautiful service and one to absorb everything. Malcolm talks of Ignatian Spirituality and their model fits with me. It uses all the senses.

The trouble is, I continue to be anointed even though I do not feel worthy yet He affirms this through other means and I ask, “why me?”. Christ anoints us all and this, especially for me, is something difficult to accept but at the same time it goes deep within as acceptance; more profoundly, someone wants me for who I am.

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This was a difficult drawing and I thought of using an other face but GOD wanted me and I feel I must stick with this. To be loved.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/