We are now firmly into the season of All Saints. We have united our voices with all the saints and we have prayed for those we love but see no longer. On Sunday at 10.30am we give thanks and pray for those who gave their lives in the service of our freedom.
On reflection this season might usefully be categorised as the season of those who responded. What is important to note is the fact that these were ordinary people, like you and I.
The Saints responded to God’s call, to a vision which transformed their lives and continues to transform ours.
We remember those we love but see no longer precisely because they loved us and love creates that secure environment which enables individual flourishing.
On Sunday, willingly or reluctantly, confidently, or in great fear, we give thanks for those ordinary men and women who died in the service of this nation. In what sometimes sees like an obsessively self-centred world, these people are a check on our direction of thought and travel.
Our thoughts and prayers this week have revolved particularly around the life of this world and the world to come. It reminded me of a poem I read recently entitled ‘Heaven in Ordinary’, reproduced below. It was written by that wonderful priest poet Malcolm Guite and published for general circulation as a foretaste of his latest book of sonnets and other poems ‘After Prayer’ to be launched officially on Friday of this week. I hope you enjoy reading and reflecting on it.
With every blessing
Because high heaven made itself so low
That I might glimpse it through a stable door,
Or hear it bless me through a hammer blow,
And call me through the voices of the poor,
Unbidden now, its hidden light breaks through
Amidst the clutter of the every day,
Illuminating things I thought I knew,
Whose dark glass brightens, even as I pray.
Then this world’s walls no longer stay my eyes,
A veil is lifted likewise from my heart,
The moment holds me in its strange surprise,
The gates of paradise are drawn apart,
I see his tree, with blossom on its bough,
And nothing can be ordinary now.