Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Moltmann quote

"The Trinity is a unity of a special kind. It is a unity that is sought by humans in their community with each other. It is anticipated and foreshadowed in their love towards one another. It is experienced in the ecstasy of joy and gratitude and in moments of mystical unity."
"God wills to recognise and reflect the Divine Self in human community"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

and Jesus said "What?"

Jesus said, Whom do men say that I am?
And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.
And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?
Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."
And Jesus answering, said, "What?" 


God is more than two men and a bird 
U.S.Catholic 1990

A Trinity Joke

About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the Vatican. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community.

So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, they could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave.

The Jews realized that they had no choice. So they picked a middle aged man named Moishe to represent them. Moishe asked for one addition to the debate. To make it more interesting, neither side would be allowed to talk. The pope agreed.

The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe.

"What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."

"And then?" asked a woman.

"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."

Trinity colouring page

Something to keep you occupied and thinking about just what it all means really

Your god is too small

The story is told of St Augustine of Hippo, a great philosopher and theologian who wanted so much to understand the doctrine of the Trinity and to be able to explain it logically. One day as he was walking along the sea shore and reflecting on this, he suddenly saw a little child all alone on the shore. The child made a whole in the sand, ran to the sea with a little cup, filled her cup, came and poured it into the hole she had made in the sand. Back and forth she went to the sea, filled her cup and came and poured it into the hole. Augustine went up to her and said, "Little child, what are doing?" and she replied, "I am trying to empty the sea into this hole." "How do you think," Augustine asked her, "that you can empty this immense sea into this tiny hole and with this tiny cup?" To which she replied, " And you, how do you suppose that with this your small head you can comprehend the immensity of God?" With that the child disappeared.

El Greco Holy Trinity

Monday, May 28, 2012

Triune God

The 3D God is at home within the cosmos,
a habitation created in a dream-thought explosion
of energy, light and grace. In that moment,
time began its insistent journey
outwards to locate and define
every particle that ever existed.
This same triune Deity calls into being love,
which reaches, gathers and embraces,
– always did, always does, always will,
– and weeps at the estrangement
and the bondage of creation

Knowing that fear must be defied
if life is to triumph, a Word-child
is sent to embody foolish,
love-filled hope;
seeking an end to the alienation
and recklessly shining his uninvited light
into previously shadowed places.
The embracings receive added substance
as hand are clasped, feet are washed,
cheeks are kissed, tears are shed,
and greetings of peace are extended to all.

The third dimension comes as Spirit,
transcending temporal and spatial limits,
to speak once more, and for all time,
that same word of impossible love.
Groaning deeply to resonate
with the barely audible vibrations upon which
the universe is built, she creates once more,
and again, challenge, peace, truth and justice;
calling forth life out of darkness
to refashion the cosmos.
in grace and hope. 

I find it a challenge to engage with the Trinity in poetry. I keep wanting to change things, but this will have to do for now.

© Ken Rookes 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wisdom's Feast: Rivers of Life Art Exhibition

We expect there will be about 25 works in this exhibition. It starts this weekend, at Wisdom’s Feast at St Andrew’s Bendigo, and will continue at Forest Street for the following three weekends. The pamphlet has details.




Love Flows

Love flows from God into man,Like a birdWho rivers the airWithout moving her wings.Thus we move in His world,One in body and soul,Though outwardly separate in form.As the Source strikes the note,Humanity sings--The Holy Spirit is our harpist,And all stringsWhich are touched in LoveMust sound.
Mechtild of Magdeburg 1207-1297trans. Jane Hirshfield

Pentecost spinner


The birthday of the church

On this birthday of the church we are reminded of our imperfections. Many use the imperfections of the Church as  reason for them being counted out, yet I would feel that the church is no different to the rest of society in that it is made up of normal people.
          T.S. Eliot in his poem "the Rock" wrote about the Church.
          "There shall always be the church and the world and the heart of man,
shivering and fluttering between them ,choosing and chosen,
Valiant , ignoble, dark and full of light,
Swinging between hellgate and heaven-gate'
and the gates of hell shall not prevail,
darkness now then light."
If we are bereft of a strong sense of unity and purpose, with what do we confront a culture that has enthroned enlightened self-interest? With what do we challenge a world that has reduced men and women to pawns of ideology? With what arms of virtue and belief do we address the heartbreaking slaughter in Rwanda and pogroms conducted by Serbs or Croats?
          In our own post-modern way, we are still the pre-Pentecost church, huddled in fear of each other as well as of the world at large. How true it is that we long once again for the "lover of the poor, the light of human hearts, the kind guide and giver of gifts, the gracious visitor who eases our toils, the consoler with cool grace and light in darkness, the warmer of our hearts and healer of our wounds, the gift of joy and absolver of sins."

Send forth yet again your Spirit upon us to renew the face of this troubled earth.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spirit of Truth

A new day dawns,
from time to time,
when sentient beings,
such as myself,
and you, curious reader,
experience moments
of such wondrous lucidity
that it seems we have moved
from a place of darkness
to one of light. The dawning
is mostly welcomed. For some,
those days arise more frequently
than they do for others;
the enlightenments may be serial,
and the truths will often compound.
John, the gospel-writer,
tells of the Advocate Spirit,
friend and companion
to men and women of faith,
who is promised to create
occasional recognitions of truth
filled with colour, light and beauty;
choreographing dancings for weary feet,
composing arias in ache-filled hearts
and leading the pilgrim soul
to places of grateful weeping.
Such illuminations may,
on occasions, so inspire the open-minded
that nations are led to cease their fighting,
nature begins to find healing,
people stop being quite so fearful,
and the hitherto vanquished power
of generous love receives its chance
and reclaims a small foothold.

© Ken Rookes 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prayer for unity in Christ

Lord Jesus,
who on the eve of your death,
prayed that all your disciples might be one ....,
make us feel intense sorrow
over the infidelity of our disunity.
Give us the honesty to recognise,
and the courage to reject,
whatever indifference towards one another,
or mutual distrust, or even enmity,
lie hidden within us.
Enable all of us us to meet one another in you.
And let your prayer for the unity of Christians
be ever in our hearts and on our lips,
unity such as you desire it and by 
the means that you will.
Make us find the way
that leads to unity in you,
who are perfect charity,
through being obedient to the spirit of love and truth.

Cornerstone community, Belfast,
Northern Ireland.

The Ascension

The ascension

Not belonging

The one we follow
steps away from the constraints
of earthly contentment and desire
to listen more closely to the words of grace,
love and delight that whisper insistently
in the calling that shapes him.
With freed arms he offers
his liberating embrace
to the ones he calls friends.
They are to walk his own awkward,
earth-traced trails, and many more;
experiencing the challenge of the landscape,
feeling the sadness of its breaking,
and uncovering hopeful nuggets
and other surprising life-gems
hidden beneath layers of dust.
Born of that same dust,
they see beyond their parentage,
knowing that they are neither
children nor slaves,
but sisters and brothers of one,
who, for something more beautiful,
refused his world’s comfortable
and seductive encumbrances.
Belonging most completely,
yet not tethered by that belonging,
they refuse the gravity pull
of everything that would rob them
of the true freedom and joy
that is their inheritance.
Climbing love’s thermal currents,
recklessly they soar, rising and diving;
with determined wings.

Some poems are works in progress. I post them anyway in the hope that others might find them helpful. I think this is OK, but I may revisit. 
© Ken Rookes 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day colouring

Colouring God's Friends

Love is not burdensome??

Love is not burdensome? What does John know that we don’t? Maybe this: we tend to treat love as a kind of goal-oriented affection. We love so that something will happen to somebody. I am not sure where that understanding comes from, but I am quite convinced that it’s true. And it is wrong. We do not love as a means to bring about some holy end. We love because God first loved us. Loving is the highest form of abiding, of being present for another. In Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh says, "If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs of the person we love. This is the ground of real love." Understanding happens when we are present to the other, when we abide with her or him as Christ abides with us. Not a burden, but a presence. "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish and it will be done for you." What more can we ask for than an abiding awareness of the presence of Christ in our lives, and a growing capacity to abide with others?

I have called you friends

It is worth noticing how John pictures what happens when this love is fulfilled. 15:11 speaks of joy. It affirms human joy as the fruit of divine intention. Occasionally we need a reminder about this. The goal is not a purity which is spotless and stark, morbid and serious, but joy which fulfils itself in love.
Notice also how 15:15 addresses the issue of status. It abandons the imagery of servitude in favour of friendship. While the language of serving and servitude has dominated Christian tradition, this little correction deserves more reflection. Could we say: God does not want slaves; God wants companions? It creates a different model of spirituality. Of course friendship also means letting the other be and acknowledging that otherness in its integrity and sacredness. Certainly there is no thought of ‘pocketing’ God or Jesus in a way which reduces either - a kind of power-play which makes them manageable (pocket-able and in my control). Some people either want to dominate or be dominated. The model here is different. It does not compromise the integrity or holiness of the other, but affirms companionship in such holiness.

Love anything and your heart will be broken.

"Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place where you can be perfectly safe from all the perturbations of love is Hell."
C.S Lewis 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Only one thing

Too much smug,
ticket-to-heaven thinking,
(I nearly called it theology),
in the fundamentalist roots
that many of us share. But,
says gospel-writer John
and those who appropriated his name
in later letters, there is only one thing
by which we are made friends
of Jesus.
If the proof is in the eating,
then the fruits are surely
in the doing, the listening,
and the obeying of the commandment.
The agápē word was spoken often
and enacted on more than one occasion
by the man who embodies
self-giving, generosity and compassion.
This utterance at the centre
of his living,
and translated into our language,
has become so tired
that I am reluctant to employ it.
Made a cliché,
the word spills effortlessly
from undiscerning lips,
and only occasionally finds expression
through committed hands
and outraged hearts.
But, it seems to me,
this one thing alone causes God,
(however she is conceived),
to smile;
only one thing.

© Ken Rookes 2012

The storm

Haiku of stillness After a long day telling stories, parables, Jesus needs a break. Suggests a boat trip. Let us cross the lake; ...