Moses’ veil


Two treks up the high mountainside for God:
First climb with light pack, heart open to awe
The great man of God ached, yearned and saw God,
And watched God’s finger carve on stone the Law.

 
But the people, Ah! his people, they turned to gold,
Loving it, their greedy false self they fed:
when their prophet returned, he saw they had sold
their souls, and gold had mutely turned to lead.

 
Moses broke the stones, climbed the breathy track,
This time took care with God the work to share:
In anger and in love he wrote the second plaque,
And held God’s heart in God’s shekinah glare.

 
One thing of Moses’ veil is worth to know:
Light that comes from inside has the brightest glow.

 

– Exodus 34:1-35

Presentation


Presentation

Bush church of my childhood: see server and priest
In tiny vestry; vestment-chest of oak,
White robes laid out immaculately creased,
Christ’s purity, and his mother’s, evoke.

The albs are bordered in fine crafted lace,
Stole and chasuble crisply ironed and laid,
Emptied of sound, in silence of place
The server hears as his precursors prayed.

Inside the small church a reed organ sounds,
On, into the sanctuary the server leads on,
He bashful bows deep then processes ‘round,
He offers water and wine: the Dreaming’s white swan.

My mother and grandma with pride are stilled;
They watch from the pews the now and the willed.

  • Malachi 3:1-4, Psalm 84, Luke 2:22-40

 

In Native American stories, Dragonfly persuades Swan to surrender to the power of the river so that she can, in a state of grace, be taken into the future. (http://www.swansongs.org/who-we-are/swan-mythology/)
altar-boy-solo

Image courtesy Joe Laufer’s Blog – Memories of a Life Adventure https://burlcohistorian.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/it-takes-a-village-part-ii/

Rejection


Rejection

—They’re dazzling Da-Esh with wonders and signs
Across widespread Islamist latitudes,
Where gospel is grounded in physical confines
And must be proved by miracles’ certitudes.

—We in Nazareth are more Word-based, of course,
Our gospel is rooted in reason’s deep grace,
In doctrine and Midrash is Jesus’ real source,
In text and good preaching we see Jesus’ face.

So Jesus can stand and read the whole scroll,
he can sit and discourse and be learned as well,
he can count off the ways he will save your soul –
but he cannot act. No! We’ll move to expel.

Your water to wine, your sadness to joy,
disrupting our world prepared to destroy.

  • Luke 4:21-30

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Christ Preaching in the Synagogue at Nazareth. 14th c. fresco (detail).
Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo

 

Transfiguration


Transfiguration

I walk this distant red gorge path alone.
My feet seek strength but I fear its sheer side,
I reach out searching for my God: unknown.
I touch nothing and weep; my faith has died.

I trudge on with the bread and blood and Word
These connect me to the church not to God.
“Scriptura sola” is literally absurd
My only joy is that others have trod

This way; and overstepped the bounds of linking.
I’ve lost the power to feel where God creates,
Abandoned zeal, fearing downfall, am sinking —
Instead of love, my worship isolates.

I falter, fall, free-fall down the chasm deep,
I faithless, God grasps me, who makes the leap.

  • Luke 9:28-36 (February 7, 2016)
    “Scriptura sola” – Latin tag meaning “Scripture alone”.

red-layered-rock

Image courtesy http://www.australiasnorthwest.com/Destinations/The_Pilbara

Sonnets for the Wedding at Cana


1

Wedding at Cana

Press the infinity loop, the Moebius strip,
Christ’s incarnation, two become one, yes,
alloy of connubial companionship,
Wife and spouse bless each other’s tenderness.

Six large pitchers to purify the night –
How much purity do bride and husband need?
No! Throw out the rules of restricting rite,
let newly-weds on love’s infinity feed.

The love of lovers cannot be pegged or clipped.
It flows like cabernet through crypted cellars,
Flooding, spreading like a tide over-tipped,
Baffling gift of Bible’s story-tellers.

Each gives all, receives all, sets each other free,
Bridegroom, Lover, Bride in Holy Trinity.

  • Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, John 2-1-11
  • Ted Witham

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2

Cana 2

Mary’s there, Jesus’ mother – and his friends,
(called disciples in pious prophecy.)
There’re some servants whom Jesus sends
With transformed water for the maître-d’.

The maître-d’ drinks deep and calls the host,
The bashful bridegroom takes the praise to heart.
It seems a full cast for the wedding: most
strangely the groom has mislaid his sweetheart.

Good wine, once it’s started, must be consumed,
So starts a party now and for always.
And the Bride herself is forced to be assumed
The attentive Reader prayerfully obeys.

So, dear Reader, put on your wedding gown and ring,
And go to Jesus your spouse, and with him dance and sing!

Ted Witham

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Christ’s Body is my body


Poem by Symeon the New Theologian(949-1022), Hymn 15 in his Hymns of Divine Love

We awaken in Christ’’s body,
As Christ awakens our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.

Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
— Then open your heart to him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’’s body
Where all our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the beloved
In every last part of our body.

 

Quoted by Richard Rohr, pp. 219-20 in Things Hidden

Epiphany


Epiphany

Arise, ablaze because your light now beams,
Godly light, insight to eternal aims.
The darkness that would cover earth still dreams
Of battle victory in Satanic games.

The poverty of the poor brought to nought,
The dryness of the drought be drowned in rain,
The violence of the vicious be stopped short,
The upright once disgraced honoured again.

So yes: God’s mystery wise has been revealed,
the Gospel locked in sepulchre set free,
and Jesus master of this battle-field
is fruiting flower of frankincense tree.

For darkness has no means of quenching light:
Wise men blaze in the beacon of Twelfth Night.

  • Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-7,10-14, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12
  • Ted Witham Epiphany 2016
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