And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17

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Friday, August 11, 2023

British Pageant Broadcast for First Time this Weekend.


The Pageant will be livestreamed starting at 7:30 Summer UK time, which was a few hours ago.  

But it will be available for streaming for 48 hours, so most of Saturday and all day Sunday.

I have heard it is well-done.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Easter Monday


 Doubting Thomas.

Every time I hear that phrase I think of another day with Thomas.  
Upon hearing that Lazarus was dying, Jesus waited 4 days, then turned his face toward Jerusalem. 
 John 11:8  His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Let's make mention of this Thomas.

St. Thomas the Apostle
- by Malcolm Guite

“We do not know… how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.
Because He loved your awkward counter-point
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Easter Sunday : "He is Risen"


easter tomb.jpg

Walter Rane

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” (John Updike)

Make no mistake: if he rose at all

It was as His body;

If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,

The amino acids rekindle,

The Church will fall.


It was not as the flowers,

Each soft spring recurrent;

It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the

Eleven apostles;

It was as His flesh; ours.


The same hinged thumbs and toes

The same valved heart

That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered

Out of enduring Might

New strength to enclose.


Let us not mock God with metaphor,

Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,

Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded

Credulity of earlier ages:

Let us walk through the door.


The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,

Not a stone in a story,

But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of

Time will eclipse for each of us

The wide light of day.


And if we have an angel at the tomb,

Make it a real angel,

Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in

The dawn light, robed in real linen

Spun on a definite loom.


Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed

By the miracle,

And crushed by remonstrance.

 —John Updike, “Seven Stanzas as Easter” (1960)

easter 8 Easter sunday.JPG

This final station of the cross is a recent -and most appropriate - addition.

XV Easter Dawn

-Malcolm Guite

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves

And now he blesses hers who stood and wept

And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s

Last touching place, but watched as low light crept

Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs

A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.

She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,

Or recognize the Gardener standing there.

She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,

Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light

That brightens as she chokes out her reply

‘They took my love away, my day is night’

And then she hears her name, she hears Love say

The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

Three Translations of Rainer Maria Rilke's poem. I enjoyed reading the similar yet unique was the translators expressed Rilke's words.

Mary at Peace with the Risen Lord
What they felt then: isn't it
sweeter than every secret,
than all that's only earth;
when he, still pale from the grave,
came assuaged to her:
in all ways resurrected.
O to her first. And they were then
being saved, ineffably. 
Yes, being saved, that's it.  They had no need
to touch each other firmly.
He laid for a second -
if that - his soon to be 
eternal hand on her woman's shoulder. 
And they began, at peace, 
like trees in spring, 
the boundless and the bounded, 
the season of this 
their utmost association.

Translated from the German by
David Curzon and Will Alexander Washburn
jesus dead mary magdalene.jpg

The Quieting of Mary with the Resurrected One

 What they felt then: is it not

above all other mysteries the sweetest

and yet still earthly:

when he, pale from the grave,

his burdens laid down, went to her:

risen in all places.

Oh, first to her. How they

inexpressibly began to heal.

Yes heal: that simple. They felt no need

to touch each other strongly.

He placed his hand, which next

would be eternal, for scarcely

a second on her womanly shoulder.

And they began

quietly as trees in spring

in infinite simultaneity

their season

of ultimate communing.

 -Translated by Randy Coleman-Riese


appearance of christ to the women mary magdalene ivanka demchuk.JPG
Ivanka Demchuk


What they then experienced, is it not

sweet above all secrets

and still quite earthly:

there he, a little pale still from the grave,

disburdened stepped towards her,

resurrected in every way.

O, to her first. How they were there,

beyond description, in healing.

Yes, they were healing; that was it. They had no need

to boldly touch.

For scarcely a moment

he laid his almost

eternal hand upon her womanly shoulder.

And they began,

silently as the trees in spring,

infinitely together

this season

of their deepest communion.

 (unknown translator:


Easter Saturday in the Tomb


Brian Kershisnik

Two more Stations 

-Malcolm Guite

XIII Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross

His spirit and his life he breathes in all

Now on this cross his body breathes no more

Here at the centre everything is still

Spent, and emptied, opened to the core.

A quiet taking down, a prising loose

A cross-beam lowered like a weighing scale

Unmaking of each thing that had its use

A long withdrawing of each bloodied nail,

This is ground zero, emptiness and space

With nothing left to say or think or do

But look unflinching on the sacred face

That cannot move or change or look at you.

Yet in that prising loose and letting be

He has unfastened you and set you free.


XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb

Here at the centre everything is still

Before the stir and movement of our grief

Which bears it’s pain with rhythm, ritual,

Beautiful useless gestures of relief.

So they anoint the skin that cannot feel

Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care,

Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,

With incense scenting only empty air.

He blesses every love that weeps and grieves

And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.

The love that’s poured in silence at old graves

Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,

Is never lost. In him all love is found

And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

harrowing of hell Adam and Eve Anastasis_fresco_Chora_Church_Istanbul.jpg

Chora Church, Istanbul

Ikon: The Harrowing of Hell

Denise Levertov - 1923-1997
Down through the tomb's inward arch
He has shouldered out into Limbo
to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber:
the merciful dead, the prophets,
the innocents just His own age and those
unnumbered others waiting here
unaware, in an endless void He is ending
now, stooping to tug at their hands,
to pull them from their sarcophagi,
dazzled, almost unwilling. Didmas,
neighbor in death, Golgotha dust
still streaked on the dried sweat of his body
no one had washed and anointed, is here,
for sequence is not known in Limbo;
the promise, given from cross to cross
at noon, arches beyond sunset and dawn.
All these He will swiftly lead
to the Paradise road: they are safe.
That done, there must take place that struggle
no human presumes to picture:
living, dying, descending to rescue the just
from shadow, were lesser travails
than this: to break
through earth and stone of the faithless world
back to the cold sepulchre, tearstained
stifling shroud; to break from them
back into breath and heartbeat, and walk
the world again, closed into days and weeks again,
wounds of His anguish open, and Spirit
streaming through every cell of flesh
so that if mortal sight could bear
to perceive it, it would be seen
His mortal flesh was lit from within, now,
and aching for home. He must return,
first, in Divine patience, and know
hunger again, and give
to humble friends the joy
of giving Him food—fish and a honeycomb.
harrowing of Hell ivanka demchuk.jpg
Ivanka Demchuk

Friday, April 7, 2023

Good Friday

J Kirk Richards

Unkept Good Fridays

by Thomas Hardy

There are many more Good Fridays
Than this, if we but knew
The names, and could relate them,
Of men whom rulers slew
For their goodwill, and date them
As runs the twelvemonth through.

These nameless Christs' Good Fridays,
Whose virtues wrought their end,
Bore days of bonds and burning,
With no man to their friend,
Of mockeries, and spurning;
Yet they are all unpenned.

When they had their Good Fridays
Of bloody sweat and strain
Oblivion hides. We quote not
Their dying words of pain,
Their sepulchres we note not,
Unwitting where they have lain.

No annual Good Fridays
Gained they from cross and cord,
From being sawn asunder,
Disfigured and abhorred,
Smitten and trampled under:
Such dates no hands have scored.

Let be. Let lack Good Fridays
These Christs of unwrit names;
The world was not even worthy
To taunt their hopes and aims,
As little of earth, earthy,
As his mankind proclaims.

Good Friday, 1927

Balage Balogh

Good Friday

by Christina Rossetti

 Am I a stone and not a sheep

That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,

To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,

And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved

Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;

Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;

Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon

Which hid their faces in a starless sky,

A horror of great darkness at broad noon,—

I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,

But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;

Greater than Moses, turn and look once more

And smite a rock.

More Stations of the Cross 

RHS note: many of these stations are legendary, but it helps to know Christian traditions.

By Malcolm Guite

These  are taken from ‘Sounding the Seasons; seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year, Canterbury Press 2012′ 

VI Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Bystanders and bypassers turn away

And wipe his image from their memory

She keeps her station. She is here to stay

And stem the flow. She is the reliquary

Of his last look on her. The bloody sweat

And salt tears of his love are soaking through

The folds of her devotion and the wet

folds of her handkerchief, like the dew

Of morning, like a softening rain of grace.

Because she wiped the grime from off his skin,

And glimpsed the godhead in his human face

Whose hidden image we all bear within,

Through all our veils and shrouds of daily pain

The face of god is shining once again.


VII Jesus falls the second time

Through all our veils and shrouds of daily pain,

Through our bruised bruises and re-opened scars,

He falls and stumbles with us, hurt again

When we are hurt again. With us he bears

The cruel repetitions of our cruelty;

The beatings of already beaten men,

The second rounds of torture, the futility

Of all unheeded pleading, every scream in vain.

And by this fall he finds the fallen souls

Who passed a first, but failed a second trial,

The souls who thought their faith would hold them whole

And found it only held them for a while.

Be with us when the road is twice as long

As we can bear. By weakness make us strong.


VIII Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

He falls and stumbles with us, hurt again

But still he holds the road and looks in love

On all of us who look on him. Our pain

As close to him as his. These women move

Compassion in him as he does in them.

He asks us both to weep and not to weep.

Women of Gaza and Jerusalem,

Women of every nation where the deep

Wounds of memory divide the land

And lives of all your children, where the mines

Of all our wars are sown: Afghanistan ,

Iraq, the Cote d’Ivoire… he reads the signs

And weeps with you and with you he will stay

Until the day he wipes your tears away.


 IX Jesus falls the third time

He weeps with you and with you he will stay

When all your staying power has run out

You can’t go on, you go on anyway.

He stumbles just beside you when the doubt

That always haunts you, cuts you down at last

And takes away the hope that drove you on.

This is the third fall and it hurts the worst

This long descent through darkness to depression

From which there seems no rising and no will

To rise, or breathe or bear your own heart beat.

Twice you survived; this third will surely kill,

And you could almost wish for that defeat

Except that in the cold hell where you freeze

You find your God beside you on his knees.


IX Jesus is stripped of His garments

You can’t go on, you go on anyway

He goes with you, his cradle to your grave.

Now is the time to loosen, cast away

The useless weight of everything but love

For he began his letting go before,

Before the worlds for which he dies were made,

Emptied himself, became one of the poor,

To make you rich in him and unafraid.

See as they strip the robe from off his back

They strip away your own defenses too

Now you could lose it all and never lack

Now you can see what naked Love can do

Let go these bonds beneath whose weight you bow

His stripping strips you both for action now

Salvador Dali

XI Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross

See, as they strip the robe from off his back

And spread his arms and nail them to the cross,

The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black,

And love is firmly fastened onto loss.

But here a pure change happens. On this tree

Loss becomes gain, death opens into birth.

Here wounding heals and fastening makes free

Earth breathes in heaven, heaven roots in earth.

And here we see the length, the breadth, the height

Where love and hatred meet and love stays true

Where sin meets grace and darkness turns to light

We see what love can bear and be and do,

And here our saviour calls us to his side

His love is free, his arms are open wide.


XII Jesus dies on the cross

The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black

We watch him as he labours to draw breath

He takes our breath away to give it back,

Return it to its birth through his slow death.

We hear him struggle breathing through the pain

Who once breathed out his spirit on the deep,

Who formed us when he mixed the dust with rain

And drew us into consciousness from sleep.

His spirit and his life he breathes in all

Mantles his world in his one atmosphere

And now he comes to breathe beneath the pall

Of our pollutions, draw our injured air

To cleanse it and renew. His final breath

Breathes us, and bears us through the gates of death.


Thursday, April 6, 2023

Maundy Thursday

 Three different selections for Maundy Thursday: "Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus' words at the last supper: "I give you a new commandment."

last_supper walter rane.jpeg
Walter Rane

First, written during the covid pandemic when we were isolating.

Maundy Thursday 2020,

 All the World is still

- Malcolm Guite

Maundy Thursday, all the world is still

The planes wait, grounded by departure gates

The street is empty and the shopping mall

Deserted. Padlocked, the playground waits

Against the day that children play again

Till then our sad refrain is just refrain


 Maundy Thursday, all the world is still

And Jesus is at supper with his friends

No longer in the upper room, that hall

In Zion where the story starts and ends,

For he descended from it long ago

To find his new friends in the here and now


Maundy Thursday, all the world is still

And Jesus is at supper with his friends

Our doors are locked for fear, but he has skill

In breaking barriers. With ease he bends

Our prison bars, slips past the sentry post

And joins us as the guest who is our host.


Maundy Thursday All the world is still

But in cramped quarters on the fifteenth floor,

In lonely towers made of glass and steel,

And in the fierce favelas of the poor,

Touching with wounded hands the wounds he tends

Christ Jesus is at supper with his friends.

Gethsemane with Adam.jpg

James C Christensen

Second, Kipling during World War 1. 

Gethsemane  1914-1918



The Garden called Gethsemane  

   In Picardy it was,  

And there the people came to see  

   The English soldiers pass.

We used to pass—we used to pass  

   Or halt, as it might be,

And ship our masks in case of gas  

   Beyond Gethsemane.


The Garden called Gethsemane,  

   It held a pretty lass,

But all the time she talked to me

   I prayed my cup might pass.  

The officer sat on the chair,

   The men lay on the grass,  

And all the time we halted there

   I prayed my cup might pass.


It didn’t pass—it didn’t pass-

   It didn’t pass from me.

I drank it when we met the gas  

   Beyond Gethsemane!


Carved and painted by Dianne Minnaar : Acrylic and mixed media on wood panels : Sacred Heart Church in Samford Village, Queensland, Australia

Third, poems on the first 5 of the 15 stations of the cross, the path taken by Christ as he carries his cross. The Stations of the Cross originated in pilgrimage to Jerusalem and a desire to reproduce the Via Dolorosa.Traditionally there were fourteen stations. During his papacy, which began in 1978, Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics to add a fifteenth Station, the Resurrection of Christ, which is now included in many Catholic churches.

 Stations of the Cross

By Malcolm Guite

I Jesus is condemned to death

The very air that Pilate breathes, the voice

With which he speaks in judgment, all his powers

Of perception and discrimination, choice,

Decision, all his years, his days and hours,

His consciousness of self, his every sense,


Are given by this prisoner, freely given.

The man who stands there making no defense,

Is God. His hands are tied, His heart is open.

And he bears Pilate’s heart in his and feels

That crushing weight of wasted life. He lifts

It up in silent love. He lifts and heals.

He gives himself again with all his gifts

Into our hands. As Pilate turns away

A door swings open. This is judgment day.


II Jesus is given his cross

He gives himself again with all his gifts

And now we give him something in return.

He gave the earth that bears, the air that lifts,

Water to cleanse and cool, fire to burn,

And from these elements he forged the iron,

From strands of life he wove the growing wood,

He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion

He saw it all and saw that it is good.

We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,

We took the axe and laid it to the tree,

We made a cross of all that he has made,

And laid it on the one who made us free.

Now he receives again and lifts on high

The gifts he gave and we have turned awry.


III Jesus falls the first time


He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion

And well he knows the path we make him tread

He met the devil as a roaring lion

And still refused to turn these stones to bread,

Choosing instead, as Love will always choose,

This darker path into the heart of pain.

And now he falls upon the stones that bruise

The flesh, that break and scrape the tender skin.

He and the earth he made were never closer,

Divinity and dust come face to face.

We flinch back from his via dolorosa,

He sets his face like flint and takes our place,

Staggers beneath the black weight of us all

And falls with us that he might break our fall.


IV Jesus meets His Mother

This darker path into the heart of pain

Was also hers whose love enfolded him

In flesh and wove him in her womb. Again

The sword is piercing. She, who cradled him

And gentled and protected her young son

Must stand and watch the cruelty that mars

Her maiden making. Waves of pain that stun

And sicken pass across his face and hers

As their eyes meet. Now she enfolds the world

He loves in prayer; the mothers of the disappeared

Who know her pain, all bodies bowed and curled

In desperation on this road of tears,

All the grief-stricken in their last despair,

Are folded in the mantle of her prayer.


V Simon of Cyrene carries the cross

In desperation on this road of tears

Bystanders and bypassers turn away

In other’s pain we face our own worst fears

And turn our backs to keep those fears at bay

Unless we are compelled as this man was

By force of arms or force of circumstance

To face and feel and carry someone’s cross

In Love’s full glare and not his backward glance.

So Simon, no disciple, still fulfilled

The calling: ‘take the cross and follow me’.

By accident his life was stalled and stilled

Becoming all he was compelled to be.

Make me, like him, your pressed man and your priest,

Your alter Christus, burdened and released.

These  are taken from ‘Sounding the Seasons; seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year, Canterbury Press 2012′