please click photo to enlarge
WATCHING GLORY unfold in every facet of life and death is the blessed occupation of all human beings. The opportunities I’ve been given for just such a seeing in 30 years as a priest have brought me incalculable blessing. Glory unfolds everywhere. And as though the glory unfolding in our own lives were not blessing enough, we get to see it unfolding all around us as well. If we have eyes to see. If we have ears to hear.
Today I’ve greeted and laughed and prayed and baptised and celebrated Eucharist and cried with a couple of hundred people. Our wonderful Youth Group provided a cooked breakfast mid-morning. A sausage and bacon bap at any time is good news for me, but served this morning by marvellously giving and lovely young people, in parish rooms literally buzzing with life and laughter, though the winds were howling and the rains were drenching, it was glory writ large. “Never been here before” said a young Dad at the Baptism. “But it’s like coming home.” A bit like some of Jan Dean’s poetry that, “like coming home”.
In an hour and a half in our local Hospice this afternoon I met Glory that’s touchable. Many years ago I met Dame Cicely Saunders, the Mother Founder of the modern Hospice movement. I thought her a Christ-figure par excellence. And I felt her Spirit present this afternoon, and in the midst of laughter and tears and lovingly proffered chocolate closed my eyes, in the quiet company of the smallest of assemblies, and simply breathed peace. “In life, in death …” Glory in the air. Glory in the living and in the sick and in the dying and in the young volunteers whose smiles lit up the room – and the faces of the people to whom they lovingly ministered.
Prayer. No words necessary. Just prayer in the air. Thank God for Dame Cicely. Thank God for Hospices. Thank God for giving young people. Thank God for our churchwarden Sue, for many years the Manager of said Hospice, and now, in company with a huge team, bringing something of the hospitality of Hospice right into the Heart of our parish church. Old and young. Old apostles and the newly baptised. Light. Song. Silence. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, giggles and nodding off to sleep in between. Glory.
And then a couple of hours in the cinema – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Should you find yourself there (and I hope you do) you may remember, in many a scene, that I suggested to you tonight that right there you’ll see example after example of … Glory. Unfolding everywhere, right in the midst of life’s mysteries and vicissitudes, joy, pain, growing, coming and going. Swimming upstream. Salmon leap. And it makes our hearts swell, and we glimpse a day when “All shall be well, yea, and all manner of things shall be well” …