Sunday, February 25, 2007

A grain of wheat

"God, not man, is the first term of religion: and our first step in religion is the acknowledgement that He Is. All else is the unfolding of those truths about His life and our life, which this fact of facts involves.

I believe in One God. (first statement of the Nicene Creed) We begin there; not with our own needs, desires, feelings or obligations. Were all these abolished, His independent splendour would remain, as the Truth which gives its meaning to the world.

So we begin by stating with humble delight our belief and trust in the most concrete, most rich of all realities--God. Yet even the power to do this reflects back again to Him, and witnesses to His self-giving to the soul. For Christianity is not a pious reverie, a moral system or a fantasy life; it is a Revelation, adapted to our capacity, of the Realities which control life. Those Realities must remain largely unknown to us, limited little creatures that we are.

God, as Brother Giles said, is a great mountain of corn from which man, like a sparrow, takes a grain of wheat; yet even that grain of wheat, which is as much as we can carry away, contains all the essentials of our life. We are to carry it carefully and eat it gratefully: remembering with awe the majesty of the mountain from which it comes."

--excerpt from my Lenten reading (by Evelyn Underhill)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Feb. 2, A Hymn for Candlemas
(Feast Day of The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly called "The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin")

Hail to the Lord who comes, comes to his temple gate;
Not with his angel host, not in his kingly state;
No shouts proclaim him nigh, no crowds his coming wait;
But, borne upon the throne of Mary's gentle breast,
Watched by her duteous love, in her fond arms at rest,
Thus to his Father's house he comes, the heavenly guest.

There Joseph at her side in reverent wonder stands;
And, filled with holy joy, old Simeon in his hands
Takes up the promised child, the glory of all lands.
O Light of all the earth, thy children wait for thee!
Come to thy temples here, that we, from sin set free,
Before thy Father's face may all presented be. Amen.

-John Ellerton, 1880

A small but reverent congregation gathered at our Church this Candlemas Eve. We began with a candlelight procession into the Church, and then at Holy Communion we sang the hymn by John Ellerton (above) and the Phos Hilaron.