Tag Archives: holiness

18: Pressed into Service

18 StationV Jesster79 CC wiki

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Mark 16:21 NIV

Have you ever been shoved into the fray, given something to do you had no desire to do, finding yourself in the centre of a drama you thought was nothing to do with you? Pity Simon of Cyrene, likely a Jewish trader minding his own business, suddenly thrown into the greatest story ever told.

Was he near the front of the crowd to see what was happening, and next thing he was the thing that was happening? Had he heard about Jesus and the amazing things that were being claimed about this miracle maker? Was he passing on the trade route, used to being respected and then suddenly identified with this troublemaker simply because of his race? That is a story that has been played out time and time again in history, I suppose; the wrong colour skin, the wrong gender, the wrong creed, in the wrong place at the wrong time. And yet. I wonder if Simon might have looked back later and remembered his sudden encounter with Jesus joyfully.

Imagine if the saviour you first came into contact with was a beaten one. A bruised and bloody mess, covered in wounds and spittle. Would you still give him your life? Or do we all hanker for a clean cut, clean shaven, pristine saviour in a suit and tie, with perfect white teeth and a sensible hairstyle? Suppose the first thing he did in his brokenness was to have you carry a heavy load? So heavy that it made your shoulder burn and cut into your flesh? Would you still want to serve him? Would he still win your heart, God struggling and failing, falling and allowing weakness to shine?

Perhaps sometimes we are surprised by the ways Jesus enters our life, how he turns the strangest, even the vilest circumstances into holy encounter. For Simon, ever famed as the carrier of the cross, this seemingly chance pressganging led him into being the first (albeit unwilling) sharer of Christ’s sufferings, and no doubt he followed the rest of the story and watched, bent and sore from the load, and burning from the indignity, as a softly spoken Jewish brother was killed by a vicious regime, and at the same time, whether he knew it or not, saw God turn meekness to majesty, tragedy to triumph, death to life. Nothing would be the same ever again.

 

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo by Jesster79 on Wikimedia used under creative commons license.

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185: Church

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Do the bats in your belfry bother you, or do you carefully count them out and back again at dawn and dusk, mindful of each individual member of the congregation? Here at the bottom looking up are committed campanologists, signalling the changing of the tides by the heaving and letting go of yokes on ropes. Matins to compline, all is in order, and if we listen closely we may hear the soft hushed slip of uncommon prayer book covers being caressed by those who come rain or shine to let the words fall sensuously into the praise-filled air, saturated by centuries of liturgical love.

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016

Photo by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

154: Hollow Tree

olive tree in garden of Gethsemane by Susan v mills Mustard seed for reflection dead centre but new life springing up from the roots.

Seeming death, only the edges of the circle remain, a circumference of thin bark and wiry wood. Gnarled by twisting winds and anni horribili, it is a miracle standing. But the frailty we see is connected to humble earth and living water by a network of strength weaving through the soil, touching bed rock and finding underground springs. Roots of life, branches long lost in the battle finding renewal here, upside down, running counter to all you hold wise.

Depths you will never see are tapped here and the empty core flows with currents of holy breath. Far from empty, the trunk is simply focussed enough to stand back in a ring of awe, making space for the sacred sap to wend its way. And at the outer edge of the garden, a redoubt of young trees wells up from the strength of roots born of sacrificing the centre.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015

 

Photograph by Susan Mills, used with permission. This is an olive tree growing in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is dead in the centre, but whose root system is alive and thriving, young trees growing all around from the roots. It speaks volumes to me.

137: Canopy

canopy 137

A covering of grace; fragrant prayers rising from those standing by, holding their hands out in holy harbouring, cottoned hips brushing gently. A lifting breeze, wafting the satin roof, filling her empty sail with healing winds, carrying cares onwards to the compassionate sunlit gaze of fresh waters. A veil between two worlds, thin as a butterfly wing, is this mantle of intercession, this gossamer woven of well wishes, hanging over her head. Untouchable now, sheltered and sustained, transported into wounded palms, fronds fluttering up and down above her, undulating waves of love.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015