UNDER THE TREE

•January 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

in the forest

Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’

 

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli…Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him…

IN THE STORY about Samuel, we are told that visons were rare in his time and so was the word of יהוה (the Lord or, perhaps better, the One Who Is). Samuel had been serving יהוה in the temple at Shiloh since early childhood, as his mother Hannah had promised the High Priest Eli that he would. Yet, until the voice of יהוה disturbed him at night, we are to understand that Samuel did not know יהוה. Of course he already knew much about יהוה but he had no relationship with יהוה. As the story moves on, we hear that, “As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground”.
Meanwhile, in John’s gospel we are told that when Jesus was introduced to Nathaniel by his new disciple Philip, Jesus showed Nathaniel that he already knew him. He knew him because he had “seen” him sitting under a fig tree. Straight away Nathaniel realised that Jesus was the Messiah. Why? What’s going on here?
The fig tree was significant to people of ancient Judaic faith as a sacred place, a place for meditation, just like the yew and the oak for Celts. Nathaniel realised that Jesus and the Christ he met in his contemplative prayer under the fig tree were one and the same. Standing before him now in flesh and blood was יהוה and יהוה was letting Nathaniel know that יהוה knew him through that practice.
Much religion misfires because, like a person serving יהוה in the temple, learning about יהוה doesn’t necessarily mean that we come to know יהוה. Much prayer is offered up to a God that is somewhere else, cosmic perhaps, but not here. This is sometimes called functional atheism because it is about as effective spiritually as atheism is. The challenge for religion of all kinds in this time is to let go the mental/physical structures of religion, come to the fig tree, be still and know God.

O CILL DARA I ŴYR

•January 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

O Cill Dara i Wyr

This is a track from the “Celts” album which will be released on March 1st, St David’s Day. Diolch yn fawr i Swansea and Brecon Diocese for granting us the money to produce the first batch of cds. The album has been composed and recorded by flautist Leslie Sheills and me over the last ten months or so. This track is kind of about St Brigid, who may or may not have traveled to Gower from her abbey in Kildare. Hope it helps you pray in your heart anyway. Tangnefedd. Fr Tim

HURDY GURDY

•December 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 

CraigPwllDu

Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created…

LISTEN TO THE WIND, find the melodies of time and no time in the Pwll-du valley stream, as she gurgles below the ground in limestone caverns, and dances with the pebbles and rocks between prehistoric banks adorned with faery roots and druid trees. Creation sings, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the highest heavens; praise him in the heights!”
The universe is God’s song. God dreams like music, and then God sings and all that is, is. God sings a love song, “Hurdy gurdy, gurdy hurdy, gurdy, gurdy, hurdy gurdy, he sang…Here comes the hurdy gurdy man and he’s singing songs of love…”*
The shepherds can hear the song and they follow the melody all the way to the Christ child, while Mary treasures these things in her heart. She heard the song and lifted up her voice to sing the refrain just like one who truly sees, “…نشيد مريم، تعظم نفسي الرب بالسورث – الأب نياز توما Magnificat! Magnificat… My soul! My soul…”
And now all melodies are resolved in the One who is named Yeshua (Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation).
Listen to the wind, find the melodies of time and no time in the Pwll-du valley stream, let the cosmic Song of Life permeate your skin and rise in you, unfolding, resonating, radiating until your voice mingles with the angels, Hurdy gurdy, gurdy hurdy, gurdy, gurdy, hurdy gurdy…
Peace of “the earth… sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind, Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!” to you 😊

 

*Donovan Leitch, “The Hurdy Gurdy Man”

Happy Christmas

•December 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Christmas 17-page-001

From the Marsh, Deep Peace to You

•December 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Christmas 17-page-001

AWAKE Part Three

•December 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

christ feet

“Among you stands one whom you do not know… the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie”                                                                                         ~ John 1.26,27

THE CROWDS WERE COMING out to see John and to be baptized by him. He was so famous now that he was attracting the attention of the Temple priests and politicians, as well as the powerful Jewish intelligentsia. Even King Herod Antipas found “the Baptizer” strangely compelling, despite the ascetic’s prophetic condemnation of his own licentious royal life-style. John’s straight-talking authenticity and charismatic wild-man presence were in stark contrast to the soft-robed comfort of organized religion and his popularity was showing no signs of waning. No doubt, he was becoming for many the go-to authority for spiritual and socio-political guidance, particularly for those of non-conforming character. But, according to the Fourth Gospel’s narrator, when questioned about his own place in the cosmic pantheon of God’s sent ones, John has no self-interest other than as voice of proclamation, opener of eyes and souls that people might know the Christ among us, coming to us and proceeding from us.
Among the crowd on the banks of the River, stepping down into the Water from the crowd, came the Christ to be washed and cleansed at the hands of the Baptizer, hidden in plain sight until the one sent to be the Witness beheld him and knew him. John was not the Light, he came to testify to the Light. From this moment, John’s role was to fade so as not to impinge on the Light but rather allow the Light to intensify, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
Oh God of Wondrous Mystery, open the hearts and minds of your people, to the Truth hiding in plain sight, Jesus’ birth both literal and metaphoric, what you desire to do through all of us, Light which no darkness can put out. May we fade in self and be illumined in Christ. Amen.

AWAKE Part Two

•December 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

time and space“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day…”
~ 2 Peter 3.8

IN OUR COLLECT this morning, we have prayed for God to, “give us grace so to imitate (Christ) in the humility and purity of his first coming that, when he comes again, we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith.”
As is often the case with such crafted prayers, a perceived emphasis on a kind of moral action on the part of the praying community or individual can easily overshadow the deeper reality which the prayer contains and really points toward. Imitating Christ in “humility” and “purity”, then, might easily be understood and taught in terms of reading Scripture to deduce how Jesus behaves and interacts and then somehow copy it and so be righteous enough to get some kind of acceptance or reward “when he comes again”. The phrase “WWJD – What would Jesus do?” comes to mind, I suppose. However, for me, all this completely misfires.
The wild, wilderness voice of the Baptizer, announces the coming of Christ. “Prepare the way, for the coming of YHWH (יהוה‎),” is really closer than the usual translations to what that voice cries out. By the grace of God, in the wilderness of our lives, in the liminal spaces of our being, where the material and spiritual coincide, we might be granted the humility and purity that lie beyond the intellectual or reasonable realm of logical progression and mental scaffolding. Here we may, if we let go our craving to understand or quantify Christ, actually come to rest, for a moment or forever, in that very Christ we were seeking, who is and was and will be right here with us all the time. By God’s grace John was in the wilderness, walking the edges, baptizing in the margin or border that is the Jordan. Then he saw Christ and knew יהוה, and in human being arms and in the holy, desert river, יהוה was baptized.

 
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