Copyright November 1999
All Rights Reserved
How Beautiful are the feet..
O Rising Star, the brightness of God's eternal light, the sun of justice. Come, shed your radiance upon us who languish in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae : veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Sometimes, when I look around myself, I wonder if we really believe in the Good News any more, and who can blame us? Time forbids, even if one could really be bothered with the heartache of repetition, for me to list the outrages, the hollow hurts, the broken promises, the pollution of mind, soul, body, heart and earth - the strange gods of triviality and shallow lust which beset our world, the cruelties, injustices, infirmities and odd presuppositions of the church and the world.
The good news, the healing of the broken hearted, the anointing of those who are bruised, the dream of economic and ecological justice and balance, the personal fulfilment and social loving kindness of the good news has fallen into the realm of the disney fairy tale. It is easier to wallow in our own dirt and helplessness than it is to go out and be good news in the world. We run the daily risk of being called, and perhaps being, 'other worldly, impractical, unprofessional, extremists' when we walk out into this earth and proclaim "God does not wish us to be this way"..
It would be easy to proclaim 'peace, peace, where there is no peace' but not a lot of use when the enemy lurks over the hill ready to swoop on us, and worse, dwells among us, and speaks heartache, desolation and desecration in our daily ears. But the news of true peace is long delayed, and our hearts may be forgiven for being weary. As we wait for and yearn for the second coming, perhaps relegating the hope to the myths and legends of an ancient time basket, we fail to realize and recognize that in several different ways the second coming is already among us, it is happening now as it has happened in the past. And before you ask, before you leap to deny it, are you truly telling me that you do not feel the judgement, experience the sword of an avenging Christ ?
I am among you as one who serves, and you have told me to be more professional.
I am among you as one who lays down his life, and you have told me that this is extreme.
I am among you as one who shares my life with the poor, and you have told me that the poor deserve their ill fortune.
I was sick, and in prison and you did not visit me
I was hungry and cold and you gave me no food.
I am here, and my presence is a judgement on you. The mustard seed of the new kingdom is wailing in the streets for judgement.
What then of the peace which passes understanding?
This is the peace of those who engage with the reality of the world, and stand firmly loyal to the Prince of Peace. The 'heathen' will snap, and will gnash their teeth, and wail, and tell you how ungodly and unrighteous you are. But your heart will be as a rock, a rock of living flesh and loveliness, steady, practical and hopeful.
Then may you bring Good News. And the Good News is "I love you".
and, "I love the person sitting next to you. I love the world, I love your enemy, I love your neighbour".
and my life will be one long, lovely utterance of the beatitudes.
For the good news is that
we are the children of God. Every single one of us. That we are blessed, and we are loved. And that it is up to every one of us whether this becomes a sword of good news or a curse unbearable..
two worlds that never meet
divided by a gulf called fear . . .
who can assuage this fear
who can heal the wounds of this fear
riches will not bring comfort
to the man without hope . . .
he needs the warm light of confidence
a will to live. . . he knows his misery
he is too convinced of his apparent worthlessness
what he lacks is not knowledge
rather the hope and the strength
to rise from the filth
where to find this strength
springing from hope
which will conquer fear ?Jean Vanier, tears of silence