March 2012


 

The beauty of the heart
is what will remain:
it brings to your lips
the water of life.
in truth, it is the water,
and the jug that holds it,
and the lips that drink.

All three become one when
your talismans are broken.
This is a oneness you won’t know
by thinking about it.

 

Rumi, from: Mathnawi II, 716-718

 

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Wendell Berry

Hew Locke is a sculptor and contemporary British visual artist based in london. Locke uses a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, photography, relief, fabric, sculpture and casting, and makes extensive use of found objects and collage. Recurrent themes and imagery include visual expressions of power, trophies, globalization, movement of peoples, the creation of cultures, ships and boats, and packaging. This is all very clear in this sculpture as it contains cardboard, glue, mixed media, pom-poms, feather trim, toys beads, etc. It is very elaborate which is why it stuck out to me. Locke grew up in Guyana where he was surrounded by images of Queen Elizabeth II he said “My feelings about the royals are deeply ambivalent, I am fascinated by the survival of the institution”. The title is fitting and Locke’s sense of the royal family comes through along with power from all the colors and textures he used.

 

LET it go on; let the love of this hour be poured out till all the answers are made, the last dollar spent and the last blood gone.

Time runs with an ax and a hammer, time slides down the hallways with a pass-key and a master-key, and time gets by, time wins.

Let the love of this hour go on; let all the oaths and children and people of this love be clean as a washed stone under a waterfall in the sun.

Time is a young man with ballplayer legs, time runs a winning race against life and the clocks, time tickles with rust and spots.

Let love go on; the heartbeats are measured out with a measuring glass, so many apiece to gamble with, to use and spend and reckon; let love go on.

 

Carl Sandburg – Let Love Go On

The undergirding theme of pastoral care is characterized by the Hebrew word shalom. This is usually translated ‘peace’, but that is inadequate. Greek ideas domi­nate western thought. As a result ‘peace’ has come largely to mean ‘the absence of war’, a state which produces prosperity and well-being. But the Hebrew is more positive.

 God gives shalom: it is always something greater than human beings can conceive or achieve. Shalom is mainly discovered through relationships.

Shalom has little to do with our contemporary preoccupation with the individual’s inner peace. Jesus himself was reported (Matt. 5.9) as having said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’, people who generate shalom. Such people do not just prevent conflict or resolve disputes. By their lives they actively encourage the sort of relationship that removes (or at least diminishes) the causes of such struggles. To do this, however, the indi­vidual needs his or her own sense of support. Thus the concept of inner peace, which arises from God’s sustaining, correspondingly increases. The point is made by St Paul in Phil. 4.7: ‘And the peace of God, which passes all under­standing, will keep your hearts and minds.’ The gift is greater than anything that we can devise ourselves.

Shalom is the foundation of the Christian ideal of pastoral care. The first recipients of this peace were fellow Christians. The felt tension between Israel and the nations is often expressed in the Old Testament. A similar feeling re-emerged as Christians began to explore the world that they inhabited. As a result they began to try to define who was in and who was out of fellowship. Much of the New Testament shows how they vacillated. The Fourth Gospel, for instance, is notable for the way in which it runs the theme of God’s universal love alongside the critical nature of the individual’s decision for or against Christ. But the universal dimension of shalom always lurked. Christians found that the definition of ‘neighbour’ could rarely, if ever, be restricted to their fellow believers alone.

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Resignation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

 

chagall

 

donkey or cow, cockerel, horse,
right down to the varnish on a violin;
a man who sings, a lonely bird,
a dancer floating with his wife;

a couple, soaked in their own springtime;

the gold of the grass, the leaden sky;
between them, blue flames and
the vitality of dew:
the blood shines; the heart is a bell.

a man and a woman, together, invent the mirror

and, in the underground snow
the vineyard’s riches paint
a face, whose lips are the moon
that wakes and watches, through the night.

 

Paul Eluard

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