In the silent garden,
we stood with graves laid out
as if disbelief could turn back time.
Sometimes, silence is all we have to express ourselves;
awed, astonished, ashamed, ashen,
silent as the grave.
In the hushed corner plot,
woeful folk quietly plant raised beds
as if peace could descend with new blooms.
Sometimes, silence sings collusions victory dance;
soft, scented, scared, scarred,
hushed with inaction.
In the secret terrace,
weans play a raucous hide ’n seek
as if solemn tongues could break into laughter.
Sometimes silence is the comma, as life explodes –
caught, caressed, carried, carved,
gleeful Easter’s fête.
In festival garden,
world-weary ones feast on merriment,
as if lament will be heard no more.
Sometimes, silence proclaims extravagant garlands,
plaited, pretty, presented, pricey
fanfare of rebirth.
Craig Muir March 2017
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
I wanted to write something that viewed Jesus’ burial site as a garden – as that would be the natural place for Mary to meet with “the Gardener” But I found myself imagining a park where different activities go on alongside one another and yet still told a story that takes a community from despair to delight.
In one corner is a burial area, – so often there is little to be said after the formal words – we say little but are reluctant to move away.
in another corner people are gardening – finding some healing in doing so – but it also contrasts the way silence can be companionable with the times when our failure to speak out colludes with injustice.
In another corner the children (heard but not seen) play (weans is not a natural world for me but it allows the part rhyme of we/wo/we/wo to begin each second line) children really allow life to remain quiet for long – they are the reminder to us that life goes on – that so many moments that seem like a full stop – are really just a comma, as the story unfolds. (And couldn’t resist the homophone of fête with fate)
In another corner, it’s time to party, parade, feast, festival – Easter time!
So if Lent is a fast, why is our Lent Theme all about Feasts and Festivals?” Well, partly because the United Reformed Church is following that theme in various guises throughout the year, but also because Lent is as much about feasting as it is about fasting. Each Sunday is a feast day, and not counted in the 40 fast days of Lent. Our Lent Gatherings will be a time to reflect on the way our journeys can take various turns, that some are feasts and others fasts but all take us towards the greatest festival of all … Easter.
The sessions have been inspired by the wonderful prayers in this years Prayer Handbook, for example
We pick up the stones
of the hurts of the world
violence and poverty,
disaster, and starvation
wanting you to turn them into bread;
Carol Dixon, URC Prayer Handbook 2017
God so loved …
this home for humanity,
rich varieties of shape, colour, language, identity, story
that God sent his son not to condemn but to save.
May we value all of humanity with the same love,
share the same willingness for sacrifice
and make the same risks
that God makes for us
Vaughan Jones, URC Prayer Handbook 2017
In the midst of a fast, we will enjoy a feast of poetry, song, prayer and discovery. We will touch, look, taste and imagine. We will roam from wilderness to garden, pausing at a well as darkness falls and we catch our breath. Come and join in
be blessed, Craig