Monday, 29 November 2010

Breaking out of Boxes

Long time no blog!
It's funny how there are seasons for blogging, and seasons to refrain from blogging... Yes, a time for everything, and everything in its time. I assume that, for me, this low-blog season reflects the fact that most of my creative energy during term time goes into my life and work at St. Stephen's University - my teaching, my relationships, my marking, my faculty responsibilities, my research for future courses... Sometimes I wonder if this means that I am in fact really LIVING now, and only THINKING about living when I blog a lot. Or whether I am living an unreflected life now! :-) But then I decide it's just different ways of living. Different seasons. I do think this time with lots of action and not so much writing is good for me, but it's almost as if the values and choices I'm living out in this time spring in part from the reflection of the summer season.

Some recent creative energy also went into another talk at church just this Sunday. For the first time in many years, Jeremy and I 'tag-teamed', which was fun. You'll find the podcast of our joint talk - with lots of personal story-telling thrown in - HERE, entitled 'Breaking out of Boxes'. I enjoyed talking and sharing about this, because ideas around identity, how we construct it, how it affects how we act and relate, and how God might be involved in it all are very important to me. Also ideas of deconstruction of previous faith-informed worldviews, and the raw, vulnerable place this leaves you in - but one full of possibility! In some ways I guess this message is what Jeremy and I have been living for the last few years... If you take a listen, I hope you enjoy it, and I just wish you had actually been THERE to smile at or hug or chat to!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Autumn Morning by the St. Croix

Silver birches
stand watch alone
like ermine-clad nobles

As morning’s brilliant orb
turns the river to liquid gold,
and frosted paths shimmer with fallen jewels
of red, orange, yellow.

Surely, here,
there is enough beauty to dazzle,
and riches enough
to buy our allegiance;

Yet no gaudy show of power
ever forces knee or heart.

Beauty whispers
her call.

We may pass her by,
or trample her treasures underfoot.

We may throw her a brief, admiring glance.

stopping to stare
long enough,
our eyes may be opened to glory,
our ears to wisdom,
and our hearts to love.

And, while morning’s golden mist
swirls with echoes
of one final far-off season’s change
- of gilt city, glassy sea and great white throne -
and as the river offers
its glistening Holy Cross for royal sceptre

So, showered with autumn’s confetti,
may our kneeling words be:
“Beloved, I am yours.
With my affection I crown you.”

And, rising,
we may take with us
- sign and token
gift and promise -
one ruby-red leaf
with icy diamonds encircled.

Rachael Barham, Friday 30th October 2009,
St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

(a poem I wrote last year and that comes back to me as the season offers itself to us again)