Monday, October 19, 2009

Scriptural meditations

This is a sequence of poetic meditations on scripture phrases written to accompany groups of documentary portrait photographs used by the Anglican Missionary Agency USPG to promote its work, but presented in a special exibition at St John's City Parish Church Cardiff, August 2009, as a stimulus to spiritual reflection and meditation.

“Give us this day our daily bread”

It starts here in open fields

with the labour of sowing and reaping,

winnowing and grinding

before yeast can start to grow

and work its wonder

beneath the baker’s artful hands.

“The earth shall yield its increase; God shall bless us”

It all depends on an increase

that nobody can invent

but only observe its advent

in the detail of nature’s

constant consistency -

so fragile and threatened

by failure to live in harmony

yet God is unfailing

desiring to secure

the children’s joy and shalom.

“The eyes of all wait on you O Lord; you give them their food in due season”

Do we look beyond our ephemeral selves

into the darkness of our being

who are we?

Do we recognise the author of our being

in the fact of abundance

in food and drink

or in the starkness of famine -

the parched wilderness of tired soil,

drained of life,

poisoned by greed and ambition?

Yet God is unfailing

in desiring to secure

the children’s joy and shalom

“You open your hand; and fill all things living with plenteousness”

Do you seek the Giver

as avidly as the gift

you take for granted?

Invisible, present

in the soil and in the sea

these immensely generous hands

provide more than we imagine –

enough for all in every kind of need

except for the need

that persistent debilitating need

to be of greater

significance and value than others.

“You prepare a table before me”

Made in your image

we grow to imitate you

making the food go round

providing for others

a share of your abundance

offering refreshment

hospitality around a table

that is both ours and yours

wherever we are

between earth and heaven.

“Members of one another”

You make us what we are

our being steeped in belonging

kindred spirits

whether by blood

or the water of regeneration

It is your light

that shines in our eyes

your love for one another

our love for you

Giver of all that is good

“Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength”

You taught us

the blessing of patience

in receiving the fullness

of earth's bounty.

We also learn to wait

amidst the swirl of

mundane preoccupations

until we know your presence

when stillness

comes from nowhere

and enfolds us in awe

just at the point

where our hearts can rise

no further.

“... many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us”

Seeing your joy

your welcome

your kindness

your sharing

of yourselves in spirit and truth

if not in abundance

of material things

awakens joy in our hearts.

Seeing though never meeting

in this world

we are bound by mutual regard

for Him who loved us all

and gave Himself for us -

Let our heart overflow with praise

for the Author of Life,

Giver of all good gifts.