|Published on Sat, 25 Apr 2020 16:52|
You could be forgiven for thinking that I get all my ideas from one source - the daily email from the Centre for Action and Contemplation. That's not entirely true - I'm reading widely at the moment, and in particular am going more deeply into the work of St John of the Cross by rereading 'The Dark Night of the Soul.' But those daily emails do hit the spot remarkably often.
I suspect that as the lockdown loses its novelty and begins to become more of a grind, our prayer and reflection may also be beginning to feel a little dry. I am certainly missing the warmth of human contact with the congregation, despite the wonders of the internet. So this paragraph, this morning, insisted I had to share it with you:
Living with the Beloved does not always mean being bathed in delight and tenderness (even though this is what we would all prefer). What it does mean is serving the divine relationship with fortitude and humility. When things in our life become less than pleasurable, naturally we want them to become easier. Teresa ascertained, however, that such a desire lacks the freedom our spirit requires. The spirit needs to roam where it is guided, and we can join in this courageous adventure by allowing it to accomplish what it is here to do.
St. Teresa experienced very severe physical pain for most of her life, and struggled to reform her order of nuns, encountering much opposition. She was determined, though, and persistent, and she didn't let things drag her down. She was also insistent that life is not all about lollipops (though I think such things hadn't been invented in sixteenth century Spain). I suspect she might have been quite fierce, but her legacy was very great - and she speaks, certainly, into this time of pestilence.
The Gospel reading set for tomorrow is the story of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus - which may give you a clue about the picture above (the first to identify it gets a post-lockdown Easter egg). The service sheets and login details for the 9 a.m and 10.30 services are here. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Thank you for the positive feedback about this regular (now every other day!) email. If you have an idea, or an experience, or a thought you would like to share with the congregation and those who receive this email, do feel free to get in touch. A couple of paragraphs, or a sentence or two... it would be good to hear from different people as the weeks roll on.
I hope you're all eating your daily fruit! Jenny sent me this poem yesterday. I was pleased to be reminded of it:
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (1803)
Richard Hutchins (attributed)
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green;
The trees of nature fruitless be,
Compared with Christ the Apple Tree.
His beauty doth all things excel,
By faith I know but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see,
In Jesus Christ the Appletree.
For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought;
I missed of all but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the Appletree.
I'm weary with my former toil -
Here I will sit and rest awhile,
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the Appletree.
With great delight I'll make my stay,
Among the sons of men I see
There's none like Christ the Appletree.
I'll sit and eat this fruit divine,
It cheers my heart like spirit'al wine;
And now this fruit is sweet to me,
That grows on Christ the Appletree.
This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the Appletree.
Hoping to see you tomorrow
With much prayer and love