Hoping all of you are OK & managing to keep warm. We are sending you some ‘Winter’ reflections which we hope will have meaning at this time. The dark mornings & late afternoon dark can be quite depressing but now we can start to look forward to more daylight hours. In the reflections maybe you will find some positive things about the darkness of winter. Joyce Rupp often speaks of these.
The blessing today is the Clare Blessing by John Rutter. He wrote it in his son’s memory. His son died in a road accident whilst a student in Cambridge. Let’s pray for all those parents who continue to mourn a young son or daughter who died in an accident.
With our love & prayer
PINNACLES OF WINTER
Pinnacles of translucent winter
hang from the cottage roof,
fierce as untouchable swords,
strong enough to slice off a hand,
daring anyone to cling
for more than a momentary touch.
They patter steadily on the wet ledge,
their strength melting in the January sunshine,
surrendering themselves to annihilation
like a weathered crone sighing love songs
on her death bed.
May my sharp edges melt a bit today.
swaddles the long evenings
with comforting covers of stillness,
greets the brightness of the waxing moon,
fills the clear royal blue sky
with brilliant patterns of shining stars,
applauds the vigour of determined dawns,
receives the bowed head of setting sun.
nestles close in the heart of wine cellars,
envelopes dreams of dozing bears,
soothes the fallow frozen land,
grants flower bulbs needed time
to catch their husky breath,
lingers gratefully in resting soil
and lullabies the hidden seeds.
allows owls longer hours to hunt,
gives creatures room to roam freely,
lets the moon dance her fullness
in the shadowed elbows of leafless trees,
sings the silence of peacefulness,
joins hands with the dancing light
of the amazing aurora borealis.
Something in my human psyche
keeps wanting to light up the darkness,
to stay away from the silent shadows
and steer clear from thick, black nights.
Perhaps I have not spent enough time
holding hands with long winter evenings.
Not all darkness demands a shining candle
held before its coal black eyes.
The dark shadow of space leans over us as we conclude our winter
We are mindful that the darkness of greed, exploitation,
also lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.
We fear the darkness of war, discrimination and
may doom us & our planet to the doom of an eternal winter.
May we find hope in the lights we have kindled during this sacred
hope in one another & in all who form the web-work of
peace and justice
that spans the world.
In the heart of every person on this Earth
burns the spark of luminous goodness;
in no heart is there total darkness.
May we who have celebrated these past weeks,
by our lives & service, by our prayers & love,
call forth from one another the light and the love
that is hidden in every heart.
Many people experience the lack of light in winter time as difficult. Some suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), resulting in depression due to the deprivation of light. For them, darkness is an enemy to be contended with. But darkness can also be a friend. Velma Frye sings of this in a song “O beautiful darkness, O comforting darkness.” How can darkness bring comfort? Think of a child in the lightless womb, a shady tree on a beastly-hot summer day, the dark sky revealing a star-studded cosmos.
Winter is the time of repose, of nature’s restoration and renewal. This season actually strengthens the parts of creation that experience long hours of darkness. It allows for a quiet resting of both vegetation and creatures. What is quite amazing is that trees are already budding in wintertime, holding a secret of hope. If you look closely at these terminal buds on branches, you can see their tight protection of life. These buds will quickly leaf or flower with warming sun and spring rain. The Holy One has been referred to as Strengthening Darkness, a source of restoration, renewal and repose for us when we are in need of these gifts.