Epiphany on the Jordan

The dove descends, the spirit soars and sings

The season of Epiphany is an invitation to reflect on the many little ‘epiphanies’, glimpses of how things really are, which are vouchsafed us in the Gospel. The first Sunday of epiphany s a time to reflect on the moment when ‘the heavens opened’ at Jesus’ Baptism and we were given a glimpse of Father Son and Holy Spirit at the heart of all things. This sonnet is a reflection on that mystery. As always you can hear it by clicking on the ‘play’ sign or on the title of the poem. I read the poem and preached on the Mystery at St. Edwards this Sunday and if you would like to listen to the poem and sermon together there is a link to the podcast after the poem. I am grateful to Margot Krebs Neale for the beautiful photograph, taken at the river Jordan which says as much as, if not more than the poem.

Beginning here we glimpse the Three-in-one;

The river runs, the clouds are torn apart,

The Father speaks, the Sprit and the Son

Reveal to us the single loving heart

That beats behind the being of all things

And calls and keeps and kindles us to light.

The dove descends, the spirit soars and sings

‘You are belovèd, you are my delight!’

In that quick light and life, as water spills

And streams around the Man like quickening rain,

The voice that made the universe reveals

The God in Man who makes it new again.

He calls us too, to step into that river

To die and rise and live and love forever.

Epiphany poem and sermon

Beginning here we glimpse the three in one


Filed under imagination, Poems, St. Edward's

16 responses to “Epiphany on the Jordan

  1. C

    I was moved by your sermon on Sunday Malcolm and am pleased to be able to listen to it again. I am forever battling to find the faith to allow those profound truths to sit within my soul…

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks, I’m glad the sermon was helpful, our own sense of faith, or awareness of it, often varies, ebbs and flows, because we are in time, with all its variation, but God’s faith in us is constant 🙂

  2. Charles Twombly

    Lovely and moving. Reminds that our Lord’s baptism, like his incarnation generally, is “for us and for our salvation.”

  3. Elizabeth

    Beautiful sonnet. Beautiful image. That the bird is dark fascinates.

  4. Sally Phalan

    That is such a beautiful sonnet, Malcolm, a little feast! I have been very touched by the references to light in the scriptures during the last few weeks – it’s easy to lose the greater vision amidst the daily challenges – your sonnet brings me right back in again! I’d also to thank you again for enriching our lives so much since my husband, Tim, and I first wandered into one of your presentations in St Edward’s last May. Cambridge is our favourite place in the world and through you we continue to feel connected in a vibrant way even though we live far away. We are so grateful for the spiritual nourishment you give us. I’d like to email you personally to tell you a bit more about that! From your Irish fan, Sally

  5. Sally Phalan

    P.S. The visuals are also exquisite – I love the combination of stunning photographs and Giotto

  6. Hi Malcolm
    I am new to your blog and your sonnets and they are taking my breath away! Something DEEP within my Spirit soars and lifts when I read them! I am SO looking forward to reading them as the year goes on. What a wonderful, remarkable gift you have, to capture something of these deep mysteries in words! THANK YOU!!!

    • malcolmguite

      Thank you for your kind words Nadine. This series began with the seven sonnets on Advent but I have had such a strong response to these that I have set off on the adventure of writing sonnets for the whole ‘churchyear’. When they are finished I hope to publish them as a single volume called ‘Sounding the Seasons’. It’s an exhilarating but sometimes daunting task. I would be grateful if you could sometimes remember me in your prayers, asking that I might have the strength and inspiration to complete the series and also that the doors will open for publishing them all together. Thanks again for commenting!

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