17. A Prayer for A Season of Overwhelm

Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash

For the Week 2, Friday’s #LiveLent Devotional, particularly apt given the state of play of the coronavirus pandemic.

***
Worn and weary
from the tears
of fitful crying
I find myself
stretched straining
like a string
to hold together;
one hand sinking
into a slushy earth
and the other
tottering like a tree
listing in a storm.
As these waters
reach my neck
as breath begins
to slip and my body
begins to yield
to these dark depths
Abba be a rock
be a shelter
from the storm
be my anchor.

15. Baptism

Photo by kaleb tapp on Unsplash

Today’s CoE #LiveLent Devotional invites us to reflect on baptism, and how it is a symbol of our death and resurrection with Christ. Here goes:

***
I come
to this water,
let me go
beneath its flood
and die, and then
arise reborn,
raised to freedom
and new desires.
Let me sense
your welcome,
your voice
speaking once
but echoing
across the hills
and the valleys
telling me, welcome
lost son, my prodigal
returned.

12. Water

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

For Day 10 of the CoE #Livelent Devotional, the focus being the second day of creation with water being brought forth…

***
First comes light,
making lost things
found, dark places
bright and clear
and beautiful again,
and then comes water
to wash and clean
and bring life
to all the dead
and dying things.
May the dark places
of our hearts be lit
and whole again
and our hands clean.

10. Light…

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

For Day Nine, the invitation is to reflect on light and heat and the benefits access to electricity brings to people around the world. That immediately brought to mind the Parable of the Lost Coin, and how for all the sweeping and cleaning, the lost coin is found because of the illumination light brings. Here goes then:

***
You realise
that light is good
when the thing you lost
is found, wedged between
the corner of your bed
and the cold wall,
that tiny space
worn beige by
the tyranny of time.
When in the shiver
of a winter night
you wrap your hands around
a cup of warm tea,
its chipped edge and faded art
a reminder of all its seasons of use,
you realise that light is good,
and the darkness all around fades.

9. Song of The Light

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

For Day 8 of the Church of England’s LiveLent devotional for Lent.
***
Tell
the darkness
there is no room here,
that though small
and weak and flickering
in the wind, your light
will be a bulwark, a
hedge against the
pressure closing in.
You’re a city on a hill
a light raised high
for all to see.
Shine.

Writing Creative Non-Fiction – Assignment #2: On Detail and Deduction

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife. https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG186

Last week’s assignment was to take a look at an image and attempt to deduce and interpret what it is about from the details one can see. I went for the image above, Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of Arnolfini. Here goes.

***
What strikes me the first time I look at the picture is how young and frail she looks. With eyes looking downwards and away from his face, as though in deference, one gets the impression that she feels entirely in his power, her demeanour almost apologising for intruding into his space. He, on the other hand, has that stance that screams importance, eyes forward, looking towards the one who has crafted the scene, seeming to declare that he owns everything in sight. I am here and in charge. All this is mine, notice me!

From the rich green of her thick dress, and the fur that lines its neck, hem and sleeves, I imagine they are well off. The pet resting in the foreground of the image suggests daily sustenance is not a problem, as do the finely decorated bed, the ornate chandelier,an exquisite rug and what seems to be solid oak floors; all trappings of luxury. The folds of her dress bunch together, held by her hand which seems to protect what looks like the beginnings of a baby bump. In the mirror behind them a woman lurks, her gaze matronly, a hint perhaps of motherly pride in her eyes at the scene which unfolds before her. She is not the only one looking on, various religious inscriptions adorn the rim of the mirror, suggesting this is a devout house, perhaps one that has unfettered access to the parish priest and is a patron of the local assembly.

I imagine all of this is the crafting of the man who hides in the shadows in the mirror behind everyone else, the signature on the wall the only thing that identifies him. If The Man is his patron, perhaps this is the artist’s gift, his art offered up to the service of the one who gives him sustenance.

6. Light

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

For Day 1 of Week 1 of the #LiveLent devotional for Lent.

***
Bless our broken
and our breaking,
these bodies creaking
beneath the pressure
of a living daily eked out.
Bless our riven hearts
in all their parts, strewn
as it were along the paths
we once trod in hope.
Let light,
by your speaking
bring peace
Let our shattered things
be whole again
let hope with light
spring, again.