|Pen and Ink Reflections||
Today I want to introduce you to one of the most notable mystics and teachers of my Christian tradition, Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard lived in the twelfth century in Germany and for many years her work was forgotten, returning to prominence only in the late twentieth century. She was not only a woman of prayer and vision, but also a composer, artist, theologian and herbalist,whose approaches to cosmology, medicine and music have many resonances in our own day. She is rightly regarded as one of Germany's first scientists and doctors and her 2000 herbal remedies are still being studied today. She has also left us 77 unique musical compositions that reveal her as the first female composer of note and a remarkable collection of art works...
So Penny, which is it to be – traditions of gold, or possibilities untold? Which of the two parts of the theme of our 50th Carnival of Flowers Festival would you stress the most? I’m guessing the second part – possibilities untold? Whereas, I reckon you might guess that I’d go for the first part – traditions of gold? Or is the real answer something else altogether: something which transcends and completes them both – traditions of gold and possibilities untold? What do you say?
'Carefully' - the woman in today's story searches for her lost coin 'carefully'. Sometimes just one word in a Bible passage can really stand out, and for me this week it has been that one word 'carefully'. I have come to realise that for me it expresses something of God's love and care for each one of us. It teaches us something of how we are to love and care for one another in the human community. And it shows us how we are to care for the whole created order of which we are a part - the flora and fauna that we celebrate in this second week of creation season...
On this Ocean Sunday in the Season of Creation, let me speak about three things: about how the Gospel calls us to ocean-like risks; about how Pacific Islanders are leading us to a deeper understanding of God as ocean; and, on this Fathers Day, about how one son remembers his father best when he is close to the ocean. First however, let me rework an old story.
The story goes that Prophet Mohammed, the Buddha, and Jesus all return together and go sailing on the ocean in a boat. A storm blows up and breaks the sail, sweeping the oars and other implements away. Marooned some distance from land, what are they to do? Well, Prophet Mohammed ponders for a moment and then takes action. Relying on his physical prowess and trust in God, he leaps into the still tumultuous waves and, at the cost of much exertion and constant vocal prayer, swims his way back to shore. The Buddha is next. Remaining typically calm in the face of all the changing circumstances, he sits attentively for some time and then, picking up a piece of driftwood, slides on to it. Catching the next great wave, with profound skill and attention, he also eventually surfs his way back to shore. So, what of Jesus? Well, Jesus seems to spend far less time and effort. He simply steps out of the boat and walks easily and comfortably back to shore. Immediately, social media goes mad, making sense of these startling events. So what is the main meme, or message, that is spread? It is obvious, really: Jesus, proclaims social media to the world, Jesus can neither swim nor surf – so what kind of a saviour is that?!...