Glory

An opening prayer based on Psalm 29 (The Message)

Bravo, God, bravo!
All authorities and all angels shout, “Encore!”
In awe before Your glory,
in wonder before Your visible power.

Yahweh Melek*,
Yahweh Tsebaoth**
,
Your voice rolls over the waters
like thunder tympanic: 

smashing the cedars,
skipping the mountain ranges,
shaking the deserts,
setting the oak trees dancing …

as we fall to our knees
and cry “Glory!”
“Glory to God
who rules and reigns
over everyone and everything.”

“Glory!”
“Glory to God
who gives his people
strength and might.”

“Glory!”
“Glory to God
who blesses her people
with peace.”

 

* King of kings
** Lord of hosts, of all

Day Thirty Five: Enter The Mystery

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Embodied God,
on the ladder between the home of heaven and earth’s dwelling place,
the crack between the worlds,
a baby journeyed, belonging to both.
Tess Ward

Epiphany is the story of the Wise Men – philosophers, astrologers, or mystics – who travelled across countries from the East in response to the sudden appearance, the showing forth of a star, the sign of long-awaited King; bearing with them all the way precious gifts fit for the One whom they sought:
~ gold, symbolising his wealth and, some scholars speculate, financing the holy family’s exile into Egypt before the Massacre of the Innocents;
~ frankincense, representing his holiness;
~ and myrrh, foreshadowing his early death.

Occurring on the Eastern date of Christmas, January 6, it celebrates the gift of God to all people and reminds us, particularly while the year is fresh and new, of our own journeys:
what has brought us to this particular place
and point in time,
and what unchartered territory we might well venture into if we truly long for and look for the signs of God’s guiding presence in our lives.

Having been given a glimpse over this season into the enigma of a God too big to know or truly comprehend who becomes small enough to hold in human arms,
we are invited to enter fully into the unfolding mystery of God’s love for us,
and for the whole world;
and to walk boldly, decisively, faithfully
in the light of God’s glory –
long after the tree has been taken down
and the ornaments packed away
and the final guest has gone
and the merriment has passed ….

“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”
Isaiah 60:1

This day, and every day,
the star(s), reminds us to step out of the ordinary confines of human existence into the extraordinary adventure of a life filled with the power and creativity and movement of God’s presence;
to move beyond the boundaries of the seen and known, of reason, of geography, of budgets, of daily routine into the realm of hope and possibility;
to examine whether we living our best possible life:

… a life lived with a deep awareness of our connection to God, to one another, to the world around us, to enemy and to stranger …
… an open-eyed life in which we look constantly for evidence of God with us, in the familiar and in the unexpected …
… a life in which we are not bound by rules and routines so much as liberated by Love, to love – in simple acts of kindness as well as extravagant, outrageous, generous gestures …
… a life in which work is a joy and a reward, and rest is protected and savoured …
… a life in which our immediate answer is not “No” when we are confronted by the uncomfortable, the unknown, the unplanned for; nor “Yes” to everything that is simply expected from us …
… a life of seeking and searching, sitting with questions, sharing stories, seeing new perspectives, standing steady on what we know to be true: “See! I am with you! I am here in your midst!”

Light of the World,
Sun which does not go down,
Bright Mystery,
give us each day a glimpse of Your glory;
an epiphany of where we fit
into Your heart and Your plan.
Amen. 

Last lessons: Sacrifice

*Tuesday in Holy Week: John 12:20-36*

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Verse 24

Oh Lord who showed up at festivals and feasts,
and, in your last days, spent time with those who wished to see you,
~ sharing truth,
~ evoking questions,
~ causing controversy,

in anguish I kneel before you this day …

bruised
broken
bleeding

afraid that the fragile skin I’m in
is altogether inadequate to contain
the sum of

my fears
and
bitter tears

of injuries sustained throughout the years
that have sickly festered
beneath my polite smiles
and cordial
“I’m fine thanks. How are you?”s.

There is no honour in being broken,
no success to be had in failure,
no empathy for those who just can’t seem to get their lives together:

we learn so at our mother’s breast,
in classrooms crammed with wooden desks;
from friends who smirk behind our backs
and gossip about the things we lack.

O Wheat of Life who drew all people through your woundedness rather than your power;
who overthrew the status quo through sacrifice, not violence;
who opened up eternity through the so-called finality of the grave;

may I embrace my brokenness this day
and offer all the pieces of me that I seem to have lost
or given up along the way
for planting
and watering
and pruning
and weeding
and budding
and feeding
and feeding
and feeding …

… those who are bruised
those who are broken
those who are bleeding.

.