Taste and See: All for us…

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It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

2 Peter 1:16-19

Second reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

God does not reveal himself for no purpose. Always God reveals himself pro nobis – for us. All this is for us, to help us to come closer to himself and to ourselves – from the divine we learn how to be human.

Let us keep trying to learn!

Transfiguration. Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: And journey on…

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Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’

Matthew 17:1-9

The Gospel for the feast of the Transfiguration

Peter longs for a pause, to linger enjoying the moment. But the challenge for Christians is not how best to stay put, but how to move forward in faith, finding the the godly when we come down from the mountain, living the godly and – maybe most importantly of all, bearing witness to others of the presence and love of God to them where they are and where they dwell.

Icon from Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: The Kingdom

Church of Transfiguration

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14

First reading for the feast of the Transfiguration

Christians interpret the above prophesy as one that is fulfilled by Christ – King of Love, Lord of all nations.

The very inclusivity of Jesus’ ministry provides challenge for us who proclaim his Lordship. So often, even when we seem prompted by religious motive, we are very provincial. That he is our Lord we have no doubt: that he is yours too we often seem much less certain, and regularly act as though we are uniquely privileged.

Sometimes the empire seems more likely to collapse from internal division, rather than from external threat.

Sanctuary, Church of the Transfiguration, Tabor, Israel. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: God present

 

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God is in his holy place,
God who unites those who dwell in his house;
he himself gives might and strength to his people.

Cf. Ps 67: 6-7, 36
Entrance Antiphon for the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

There are many so-called ‘thin places’ places that seem to be especially close to heaven, and to God. Some find theirs in the countryside, some in the town; some in places away from others and some when they gather with others.

But in truth there is no place where God is not, and no place where God does not open himself to his people…

  • Where do you feel closest to God? Why?
  • Where do you seem furthest from God? Why? How might your presence there place focus God’s presence and love for others.

Tin Church in Blists Hill Victorian Village, Ironbridge. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

 

 

Taste and See: Harvest

Eden ProjectAlleluia, alleluia!
Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.
Alleluia!

The alternative verse proposed for the Gospel Acclamation on Sunday, the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, suggests, rather firmly, that if we are to know and live by the mysteries of the Kingdom we are to become like little children.

There is so much in our culture that encourages us to a sort of ‘adulthood’ – to an independence of thought and action, a separation from the (dangerous) other, things which veer towards selfishness.

Yet we are to learn adulthood from God our Father. And there we learn that Fatherhood is about reaching out to others;it is about compassion and care; about integration and healing.

We need to become as children before this Father to relearn what makes for maturity.

And then, in all of our diversity and in a new unity, we will prove a wonderful harvest for the Lord.

Flowers. Eden Project, Cornwall. (c) 2004.

 

Taste and See: Peace

Peace.jpgI will bless your name for ever, O God my King or Alleluia!

I will give you glory, O God my king,
I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King or Alleluia!

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King or Alleluia!

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King or Alleluia!

The Lord is faithful in all his words
and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King or Alleluia!

Psalm 144:1-2,8-11,13-14

The psalm sung at Mass yesterday, the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, speaks of God’s blessing.

In the tradition God’s blessing does not lie particularly in the gift of this or that thing, but in the everything that comes from God and is God. The shorthand for this ‘all’ can be blessing or peace – the peace that the world cannot give but that in God encompasses and gives purpose and point for everything that is.

  • In what do you see a particular focus of God’s blessing and peace?
  • In what do you feel alienated from God’s blessing and peace?
  • Bring your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer…

Carving, St Werburgh’s church, Chester. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Ride on

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The Lord says this:

Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:9-10 

The prophesy from Zechariah reminds of the faithfulness of God – this prophecy made long before comes to fulfilment in the events of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – God himself does what God has promised will be done.

And yet there is still more to be done. The word of God has surely already persuaded many, men and women, to adjure war and strife and seek out peace. But there is still war, and peace remains lacking, even in many places where there is not war.

God is victorious and triumphant, but now, in God, we are called on to extend that victory and that triumph, to embrace the saving rule of God.

Tapestry. Vatican Museum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.