Taste and See: The Lord present

IMG_6189 Bienealle Venice 2008

When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of the Lord, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’

Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

1 Kings 19:9,11-13
First reading for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

St Irenaeus spoke of the Sacraments as loud silences in the mystery of God.

Often enough the heart of the Sacrament  is surrounded by all sorts of activity – that of the Liturgy, and that of our daily lives. That activity is not without its importance – not least the proclamation of the word that most immediately prepares us for the sacramental encounter with the Lord in the washing with water, anointing with oil, tasting of Bread broken and Wine poured out and shared.

But there needs to be the opportunity to enter into the silence, and depth, of that sacramental encounter… Sometimes the liturgy presents us with that opportunity, sometimes life… but when it does not come to us so easily we need to make time to seek it out, lest we have the experience and miss the meaning… receive the gift, but still lack the giver.

Installation, Venice Bienealle, 2008. (c) Allen Morris, 2018

Taste and See: faith alive

DSC00114a St Nicholas CHapel Kings Lynn 2016

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear.

But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’

And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

Matthew 14:22-33
Gospel for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

It is instructive how Peter’s putting himself to the test, and failing and falling, brings his companions to new and deeper faith.

They remained safe in the boat, fearful and perhaps unsure even after Jesus identified himself to them. Peter alone trusts – to the extent he can. It is only after Jesus rescue of this disciple and his being returned safe to the boat that the disciples join in doing him honour and confessing him as Son of God.

  • What prompts you to confession of faith and praise of God?

Stained Glass. St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Glory

DSC01574 Hermitage St Petersburg 2015

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
his throne, justice and right.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
all peoples see his glory.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

For you indeed are the Lord
most high above all the earth,
exalted far above all spirits.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-2,5-6,9

Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Transfiguration

The psalmist rejoices in God, the living God. Before God all else is passing, having existence only so far as it is rooted in him and permitted by him. As with all else, so with us: without God we are diminished, and ultimately would cease to have existence. But with him we live, and the sign of life in us is joy and love.

Icon. Hermitage, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: And journey on…

DSC02795 Bethlehem 2017

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.

Taste and See: God present

 

DSC08097.jpg

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: as we sing your praise

 

DSC03923 chester cathedral 2017.jpg

Alleluia, alleluia!
I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father. Alleluia!

John 15:15
Gospel Acclamation for the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The dignity that God affords to us! Especially when, though he may well have made known to us all he has learnt from the Father, we have yet to understand all that, and to put it into practice.

Hopefully as we sing to give praise to God for his goodness we do – not just sing, but give praise, mindful of what we have to give thanks for…

Angelic minstrels, Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: the one who comes to call

DSC08577 Shrewsbury 2016a.jpgBehold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me,
I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.

Alternate Communion Antiphon: 16th Sunday
of Ordinary Time.

Revelation 3: 20

How the Lord loves and cherishes us.

He is our Lord and Saviour, and yet again and again he comes humbly to us inviting us to offer him hospitality.

And he comes bringing us gifts that far outweigh what we are able to offer him: love; peace; hope…

Christ, light of the world. Shrewbsury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris