Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Mixed monks and nuns and the Moroccan barber!

Today is the feast of St Ethelreda (or Audrey) of Ely, who after 2 arranged and unconsummated marriages, founded a mixed gender monastery and ran it. It seems appropriate to remember her in a house following the Benedictine rule and being mixed gender:

Eternal God,
who bestowed such grace upon your servant Etheldreda
that she gave herself wholly to the life of prayer
and to the service of your true religion:
grant that we, like her,
may so live our lives on earth seeking your kingdom
that by your guiding
we may be joined to the glorious fellowship of your saints;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. AMEN.

I like the prayer that we may be truly committed to seeking the kingdom on earth and be part of the glorious fellowship of saints, some of whom living are strange bods and unlikely guides!

The readings are appropriate too:
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8. 6-7.

The love of God is stronger than death and our passion for God, righteousness and justice (2 sides of the one coin) can be as fierce and real as the fear that binds us and from which the love of the Beloved alone can set us free.

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
My soul shall glory in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look upon him and be radiant
and your faces shall not be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me
and saved me from all my troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him
and delivers them.

O taste and see that the Lord is gracious;
blessed is the one who trusts in him.
Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
Lions may lack and suffer hunger,
but those who seek the Lord
lack nothing that is good.

Come, my children, and listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is there who delights in life
and longs for days to enjoy good things?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from lying words.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous
and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry and the Lord hears them
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and will save those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the troubles of the righteous;
from them all will the Lord deliver them.
He keeps all their bones,
so that not one of them is broken.
But evil shall slay the wicked
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord ransoms the life of his servants
and will condemn none who seek refuge in him.

The promise here is tremendous: God upholds us if we trust and try to follow the way of God's will.

My Monday treat was a shave! A hot towel job, complete with old fashioned cut throat razor and a Moroccan barber! Old dead skin sloughed off under the blade and I still feel smooth cheeked! A ridiculously enjoyable Tuesday shift and good meeting (very unlikely guide to point the way, but God's like that) made all well and a shift today followed by 2 days off bodes very nicely for a chilled week!

No comments:

Post a comment