25 March 2015

Oscar Romero

Remembered in the Corona Chapel of Canterbury Cathedral as one of the Twenty Saints and Martyrs of our Time.  

In this quiet chapel, where the welcome smile
of a winter morning streams through lapis glass
lighting up sun gold slim pillar and wide stepped stone,
I meditate on the saints and martyrs of our time,
commemorated here where once Becket’s crown was laid.
Archbishop, poet, philosopher, minister, priest and nun,
long cherished in the hearts of all whose lives they embraced,
their loving spirits bright mirror of the divine.

They followed their Master far up the dangerous mountain path,
along the edge of the precipice, across the roaring torrent,
into a city of sad madmen, tyrants and thieves.
There, to reject neither the summons to deathbed or prison cell,
the trembling outstretched hand, the empty pleading eyes,
but to nourish the broken and the hungry soul,
to touch with love the outcast and the untouchable,
to break again the alabaster jar and anoint the weary feet.

They went to Bethlehem to greet the Christ Child’s coming,
they sat in the Temple amongst the wondering doctors,
in the wilderness they prayed for him and at his baptism rejoiced,
they walked and talked with him beside the Sea of Galilee,
they wept for him in the moonlit agony of Gethsemane
and in his footsteps trod their own Via Dolorosa.
He, their Child, their Teacher and their Lord. 

Verbum caro factum
Venite adoramus Dominum

10 March 2015

In a street in Oslo
March 2015

One day in a street in Oslo, 
a strong ring of loving arms encircled a synagogue,
a thousand Muslims showed the world 
that in the face of the rage that comes at sunrise
and the terror that haunts the darkness of night
they were as one with all the children of Abraham,
Muslims, Christians and Jews, 
and stood united with all people of good will 
that the powers of barbarism and death 
might be overcome
by the gentle healing of universal love. 
On another day, in another street in Oslo,
another ring of arms is made, 
a Jewish ring of protection around a mosque,
and the dance of Love begins again.

How many circles of support and love are needed
to send a simple message to the world?
After the journalists have left with their cameras packed away,
how many thousands of good people must strive
to make clear their continuing compassion?
But when a sudden dancing wind moves on
it leaves behind a fingerprint on the quiet landscape,
the flood recedes but soft pools still lie
in grass once parched and bitter.
So it is in the new joy and prayers of erstwhile enemies
that new friends and new resolutions are made,
until we come at last to recognise the faith
which is the true foundation of our hope
and the bringer of everlasting love.
So may it be