Saturday, 18 April 2009

long, lingering glimpses

Luke 2:34-35
Then Simeon
blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

One last, lingering glimpse back at Holy Week before I embrace 'resurrection'...
The above bible text and book by Joyce Rupp [totally recommend immersing yourself in it during a Holy Week, profoundly moving stuff] featured in a conversation after conducting Friday noon prayers. It was the week before Holy Week.

A woman stopped me to chat and had said that she'd been 'thinking of this text but couldn't quite remember it', but she knew it was deep and moving and sad and beautiful. I managed to find a bible and we stood at the east end of the Cathedral reading the words together....
Before we knew it we were immersed in an unexpectedly deep moment of serendipitous conversation which stripped away those outer layers in which we all tend to wrap ourselves... and together, we became human, vulnerable and real. It was a conversation which was brief, and yet touched us both, as we contemplated Mary and that fore-telling of piercing pain she would endure...
which Jesus endured...
and of those times [unnamed] in our own lives when it felt as if a sword not only pierced our souls but our hearts as well.

It was not in any way a depressing or even sad conversation.
It was not in any way a mutual counselling session.
Rather, it was the matter of fact recognition that pain and sorrow and joy, restoration and delight all co-exist together, intertwine.
Truly, we only fool ourselves if we think that these aspects which comprise part of what it is to be human, can be in any way compartmentalised.

Today, I awoke... into resurrection, quietly celebrating.

The Heart of Compassion
Compassionate God,
your generous presence
is always attuned to hurting ones.
Your listening ear is bent
toward the cries of the wounded
Your heart of love
fills with tears for the suffering.
Turn my inward eye to see
that I am not alone.
I am a part of all of life.
Each one's joy and sorrow
is my joy and sorrow,
and mine is theirs.
May I draw strength
from this inner communion.
May it daily recommit me
to be a compassionate presence
for all who struggle with life's pain.
Joyce Rupp
Copyright 1999 by Joyce Rupp All rights reserved


Kate said...

Beautiful post, Nik. I've come back to read it about half a dozen times.
And thanks for the book recommendation - 'Your Sorrow...' has now been added to my amazon wish list (which is how I keep track of which books I want - I'm useless at remembering titles and authors)

Nik said...

Ta Kate. It's a wonderful, marvellous and moving book. My sense is that you and it would work well together: I'll lend you my copy to have a look at if you remind me! :)