Sunday 4th September was a Red Letter Day in the Chase Benefice when over 50 people from all our parishes gathered in Spelsbury Church for the Baptism of one of our adult congregation. Despite the lead having been stolen from the roof of Spelsbury Church two weeks before, nothing could take away from the joy of the occasion as we welcomed Ilona into the family of Christ’s church. During the service Ilona gave a moving testimony of her faith and as we stood around the Font after her Baptism the prayers of intercession were led by two of our young people who will be Confirmed with her in October. It was a powerful and moving service which will live in our memories for a long time.
In a chapter about ‘Soul-shaping’ in his book The Shape of Living, David F Ford quotes a poem called ‘Revelation’ by Micheal O’Siadhail (pronounced ‘o-shale’). Ford’s theme is the secrets of intimacy and he says: ‘In intimate relationships it is constantly surprising that the deeper we become involved the more mysterious the other can seem.’
In the poem O’Siadhail describes a moment after twenty-one years of living with one ‘stranger and lover’. The sense of the intimate yet mysterious can be explored on several levels and we used this poem as a springboard for our short time of meditation at the July MMM (Mid-month Meditation, third Wednesday, Ascott Church). And as Ford comments: ‘We are secrets to ourselves, let alone to another.’
Our train gains ground in the evening light.
Among the trees the sun catches in its fall
Glints and anglings of a stone in a distant gable,
A broadcast of facets, one and infinite.
I glance at you. There’s so much unexplained.
Plays of your light keep provoking my infinity;
Already something in your presence overflows me,
A gleam of a face refusing to be contained.
How little I know of you. Again and again
I’ve resolved to be the giver and not the taker,
Somehow to surpass myself. Am I the mapmaker
So soon astray in this unknowable terrain?
Twenty-one years. And I’m journeying to discover
Only what your face reveals. Stranger and lover.
David Ford’s book subtitled ‘Spiritual Directions for Everyday
Life’ (Canterbury Press, 2012) has been a source of inspiration for Wychwood Circle’s discussions in Milton under Wychwood this year. On November 6th at 7pm (not October 2nd as previously announced) we will focus on chapters Three (Power, Virtue and Wisdom – the Shaping of Character) and Four (Secrets and Disciplines – Soul-shaping). All are welcome. http://www.wychwoodcircle.org