..last Sunday it was the devil who tested Jesus in the desert three times..this week it is Abram, one of us, who tests God.. ..having literally been offered the world in God’s promises, Abram like you & I begins to wobble.. “if there is a God, why does he allow little Freddie Thompson to suffer with cancer..Clare Jennings to remain paralysed & voiceless?..14million in the Yemen to starve to death whilst we..some of us..played at Family Fast Day last Friday..or forgot it..
“..how long Lord am I to cry for help while you will not listen?” ..for a time frame & an answer to my liking.. ; Lord have mercy “..My Lord, how am I to know I shall inherit it?” ..for proof before I invest fullheartedly into Lent 2019.. ; Christ have mercy “..see how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights..” ..for release from the prison of my life sentence in my guilty conscience.. ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..wonderful book on prayer by Margaret Silf called “Taste &See” one chapter entitled “the flat above the shop” pencil dwg of old fashioned corner shop pre-Tesco..ground floor is hardware shop large picture window; fridges vacuum cleaners door ajar sign welcome..first flr owners family flat; high up in roof space tiny attic window..Margaret Silf explains we each live & pray on each floor..this Church our shop all are welcome to come look & go..customers visitors or shareholders..we each live /pray at home in family space where our closest know a lot about us..& each of us hopefully have our own attic.. space to retreat to where I can be my real self..alone not lonely..she asks two searching questions about your attic “would you ever think of inviting your best friend into it?..& what would you want to put away in a cupboard first?” in gospel Jesus takes the risk to withdraw to his attic, a mountain, & to take his three best friends with him..as he prayed his face changed as he met God; two religious heavyweights seen in conversation with him; Moses & Elijah; as if to validate his credentials as the still apprentice Messiah with his wobbles..don’t sanitise him he too struggled in prayer & in crisis..reality check that he & we need; both a Moses personifying the law/rules regulations..H&S/ Safeguarding & Code of Canon Law/ RSB..& an Elijah evangelist telling how it is..how they were there to see it..a Max Boyce moment, who convincingly tells the story of Wales’ winning try in Six Nations decider & finishes “..& I was there!”..Elijah & now you..for Peter James & John there was a life changing 2nd Sun of Lent experience.. they had gone along out of duty, a Sunday obligation “heavy with sleep but they kept awake”..customers visitors..& suddenly penny dropped “& they saw his glory” transported to the real attic “Master it is wonderful for us to be here” how many times do you come here & find a transfiguration moment?.. where you realise you too are no longer sporadic visitors/customers in search of special Lenten offers, but stakeholder-disciples..wanting to capture moment & tent it ..contain it protect & own it..as if faith /prayer & the intimate relationship with the divine which is our birthright & heritage can be held/ pickled; it is only life giving when, like yoghurt, its essence is put at risk/ compromised & the culture the grace grown on..R4 Religious progrm last month “Holding fast to that which is good” exploring prayer in times of uncertainty ,remaining steadfast..one section spoke of holding fast to wonder.. fits well for me with words of Peter just now & our opportunity to risk climbing off our hamster wheel into a real Lent attic space..Fr Richard Carter spoke ”when I look at the work of your hands what are we that you should think of us?” when living on Holy Island I was visited by a friend who had two children who sat in car watching separate films on their own tablets with earphones. I said would they like to explore the island & the sand dunes?. They said “this islands really boring. There’s nothing to do here. I’d rather stay in the car” in fact everything for them seemed boring “I’ll give you a challenge.” he said” I wonder if you can get through the next 2days without using the word boring & without looking at your tablet?” a 2day not 40day Lent; somewhat reluctantly they took up the challenge. This is their Max Boyce report “we walked across the shallow water like the ancient pilgrims, to the island even though the water was icy cold for my toes; we climbed the watchtowers on the way, where they can rescue you if the tide comes in. I saw the way the sky joined the sea, I saw the swirl & then the heads of seals near the rocks & the honking noise they made. It was so cool. I walked round the whole island, climbed up to the castle. I ran across this huge beach & watched the tide come in, & join up in pools & then cover the sand. I wrote my name in the sand about 2metres high & watched the sun go down into the sea.”I saw their true characters emerge, scrubbed by the wind & infused with sun & salty air so they shone. After 2days they didn’t want to go home.They had learned to wonder. “the place was live, so awesome I wanted to come back again.” a teacher asked his class to find out what the seven wonders of the world were. The next day he asked in class & one had written “to see, to hear, to touch, to smell, to taste, to move & to breathe” what wonders these things are. I wonder how we can hold fast to wonder in a world so alive with miracles?” ..& “I was there” 16/17 March 2019 Our Lady & St Benedict’s Ampleforth, when Fr Bede reminded us of how blessed we are to feel so at home & so familiar with these reflections in this sacred space..a shop a flat or a precious attic?..as boring as you have been led to believe?..or a place to learn how to wonder ?..& count the miracles..how many times so far today have you seen God?..not “have you?” but “how many times?” “ it is wonderful for us to be here” indeed..on our Holy Island.. [2ndLent Yr C Lk 9;28-36]