[Christ] has penetrated into the depths of darkness,
loneliness, rejection, agony and fear,
in order to touch the depths of darkness
in each one of us
and to call us to belief,
to call us to walk in this world of darkness,
loneliness, rejection, agony and fear –
hoping, trusting in the resurrection . . .
[So] do not turn aside from your own pain,
your anguish and brokenness,
your loneliness and emptiness,
by pretending you are strong.
Go within yourself.
Go down the ladder of your own being
until you discover –
like a seed
buried in the broken, ploughed earth
of your own vulnerability –
the presence of Jesus,
the light shining in the darkness.
taken from Easter Garden by Nicola Slee
Deep and silent and cool as a broad, still, tree-shaded river
is the peace of thy presence, thou rest of our souls.
From the thousand problems of this our hurrying life
we turn, with silent joy, to plunge in thee,
to steep our souls in thy quiet depths
where no clamour of earth disturbs our perfect content.
Thou art our home and refuge;
in thee we are safe and at peace:
ever in the din and hurry of the world
we know that thou art near,
we know that close at hand – closer than our little life –
floweth that silent river of thy presence and love.
In a moment be surrounded and soaked in thy peace:
in a moment, as this world clangs round us,
we may rest secure in the bliss of thine eternity.
J.S. Hoyland 1887-1957
Prayers for the Night
Finding God at the top of the mountain
is not so very surprising.
Mountains are bigger than we are.
They put things into perspective,
lift us above the humdrum,
remove us from what is routine.
Mountains are never trivial.
They take our breath away.
Finding God on a mountain
is not so very surprising,
though once, they say,
the devil took Jesus to the top of one,
to show him all the kingdoms of the world,
to make their people seem so very small
and easy for his taking.
But then the devil never did understand mountains;
they never took his breath away.
What was surprising
was the God we found up there,
for we had heard him many times before,
for we knew his tones of voice,
the looks in his eye,
the limp in his gait
(as though he had wrestled with an angel
through long hours of the night).
He was our fellow- traveller,
our master and our slave,
father to us, mother, too,
healer, teacher, brother, friend.
We knew where he came from
and it was no heavenly city
of jasper, gold and clear as glass,
but Nazereth, a nowhere place.
We knew where he was going:
Jerusalem, to torture and to death.
You cannot have God killed, for God’s sake!
And yet, there, up there,
on thetop of the mountain
we walked straight into God
and recognized him,
for the first time.
part of The Transfiguration
Trevor Dennis ‘The Easter Stories’
Is this a Fast, to keep
The Larder lean?
From fat of Veals and Sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of Flesh, yet still
The platter high with Fish?
Is it to fast an hour
Or rag’d to go,
A downcast look, and sour?
No; ’tis a fast, to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife,
From old debate
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
And that’s to keep thy Lent.
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Celebrating the Seasons
God of the open garden
we have found you
and long to hold you fast.
But you refuse our clinging need,
eluding the love
that would bind and possess you,
sending us out
beyond the bounds of our feeble knowing.
Rapt in our joy and desire,
we cannot interpret you:
you have gone from us again,
moving into morning,
moving into light.
In your great love,
wait for us,
where you have sent us,
go ahead of us,
be there to meet us,
risen, released in your world
The Book of a Thousand Prayers