Daily Archives: May 31, 2020

Our Mother-tongue Is Love; A Sonnet for Pentecost

A Pentecost Banner at St. Michael ‘s Bartley Green

Here, once more is my sonnet for Pentecost.

Drawn from ‘Sounding the Seasons’, my cycle of sonnets for the Church Year, this is a sonnet reflecting on and celebrating the themes and readings of Pentecost. Throughout the cycle, and more widely, I have been reflecting on the traditional ‘four elements’ of earth, air, water and fire. I have been considering how each of them expresses and embodies different aspects of the Gospel and of God’s goodness, as though the four elements were, in their own way, another four evangelists. In that context I was very struck by the way Scripture expresses the presence of the Holy Spirit through the three most dynamic of the four elements, the air, ( a mighty rushing wind, but also the breath of the spirit) water, (the waters of baptism, the river of life, the fountain springing up to eternal life promised by Jesus) and of course fire, the tongues of flame at Pentecost. Three out of four ain’t bad, but I was wondering, where is the fourth? Where is earth? And then I realised that we ourselves are earth, the ‘Adam’ made of the red clay, and we become living beings, fully alive, when the Holy Spirit, clothed in the three other elements comes upon us and becomes a part of who we are. So something of that reflection is embodied in the sonnet.

 

As usual you can hear me reading the sonnet by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears in your browser or by clicking on the title of the poem itself. Thanks to Margot Krebs Neale for the beautiful image which follows the poem.

Sounding the Seasons, is published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA . It is now also out on Kindle. Please feel free to make use of this, and my other sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great..


Pentecost

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.

Whose Mother-tongue is Love in every nation

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Girton College Chapel: A Service for Pentecost

Welcome back to Girton College Chapel Page for a special service to celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, also known as WhitSunday, when the church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit

The choir, once more accompanied by the Conservatoires’ Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble directed by Jeremy West, will bring us music from Ingegneri, Cardoso, and Palestrina and I will share with you a sonnet and a reflection for the festival! (You can find the choir’s CDs Here) Once more we will enjoy responses and prayers composed by our own director of Chapel Music Gareth Wilson

Now to usher us into worship we hear the opening responses The KCL Preces (Wilson)

V:O Lord, open thou our lips.
R:And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
V:O God, make speed to save us.
R:O Lord, make haste to help us.

V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
R: .As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
V: Praise ye the Lord.
R:The Lord’s Name be praised.

The psalm set for Pentecost is number 104 verses 24- end, you might like to say this psalm out loud, or antiphonally with other members of your household:

O Lord, how manifold are thy works: in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.

So is the great and wide sea also: wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan: whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein.

These wait all upon thee: that thou mayest give them meat in due season.

When thou givest it them they gather it: and when thou openest thy hand they are filled with good.

When thou hidest thy face they are troubled: when thou takest away their breath they die, and are turned again to their dust.

When thou lettest thy breath go forth they shall be made: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

The glorious majesty of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

The earth shall tremble at the look of him: if he do but touch the hills, they shall smoke.

I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will praise my God while I have my being.

And so shall my words please him: my joy shall be in the Lord.

As for sinners, they shall be consumed out of the earth, and the ungodly shall come to an end: praise thou the Lord, O my soul, praise the Lord

V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
R: .As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Soon we will return to our strong tower! Photo by Jeremy West

Our first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles is read for us by Ben Pymer, a member of the choir:

Acts 2:1-13

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

  And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

  Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

  And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

  Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

  Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’

  All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’

  But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

Girton gardens aflame with blossom – photo by Liliana Janik

In place of the Magnificat we will hear the choir singing Quae Est Ista by Ingegneri

Our Gospel reading tells of how Jesus gave the gift of the holy Spirit to his disciples and is read for us by Rachael Humphrey, College Office Administrator

John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’

  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

In place of the Nunc Dimittis we hear Aquam Quam Ego Dabo by Cardoso

Now we turn to God in Prayer with Gareth Wilson’s setting of the responses

V:The Lord be with you.
R:And with thy spirit.
V:Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

OUR Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

V:O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
R:And grant us thy salvation.
V:O Lord, save the Queen.
R:And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.
V:Endue thy Ministers with righteousness.
R:And make thy chosen people joyful.
V:O Lord, save thy people.
R:And bless thine inheritance.
V:Give peace in our time, O Lord.
R:Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.
V:O God, make clean our hearts within us.
R:And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

Sermon: Pentecost, a reflection and a sonnet, by the chaplain

The text of the sonnet:

Pentecost

 Today we feel the wind beneath our wings,

Today the hidden fountain flows and plays,

Today the church draws breath at last and sings,

As every flame becomes a tongue of praise.

This is the feast of Fire, Air, and Water

Poured out and breathed and kindled into Earth.

The Earth herself awakens to her maker,

Translated out of death and into birth.

The right words come today in their right order

And every word spells freedom and release.

Today the gospel crosses every border,

All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace.

Today the lost are found in his translation,

Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.

Our anthem this evening is Tu Es Petrus by Palestrina

Now here, as always is the blessing which concludes our service:

A Blessing from the Chaplain:

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his son Jesus Christ our lord, and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you and those whom you hold in your hearts, this day and always, Amen

Another blaze of glory in Girton Grounds Photo by Liliana Janik

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