Tag Archives: renewal

Francis, Rebuild My Church!

st-francis-of-assisiIn honour of the great saint, and as a reflection on the new Pope who has chosen that saint’s name, and so affirmed their common task, in Christ, to rebuild his Church, I thought I would post this sonnet which reflects the way Francis responded to Christ’s call by casting away the rich trappings he had inherited and embracing holy poverty.The sonnet, composed since his election, is also a prayer that Pope Francis the 1st will enable the wider church to do the same! As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title

My sonnets for the Christian Year are available from Canterbury Press Here and on Kindle here


‘Francis, Rebuild My Church’; a sonnet for the Saint and for the new Pope

‘Francis rebuild my church which, as you see
Is falling into ruin.’ From the cross
Your saviour spoke to you and speaks to us
Again through you. Undoing set you free,
Loosened the traps of trappings, cast away
The trammelling of all that costly cloth
We wind our saviour in. At break of day
He set aside his grave-clothes. Your new birth
Came like a daybreak too, naked and true
To poverty and to the gospel call,
You woke to Christ and Christ awoke in you
And set to work through all your love and skill
To make our ruin good, to bless and heal
To wake the Christ in us and make us whole.
Pope Francis

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Filed under christianity, Current affairs, Poems

Sunset; a sonnet

Sunset on Brant Lake in the Adirondacks. photo by Kevin Belmonte,

Occasionally some friends and I  challenge one another to write a poem inspired by a common starting point, a phrase, a form, an image. this weekend we were given this fine photograph of a sunset, taken by the writer Kevin Belmonte. Here’s what I came up with. As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or on the ‘play’ button. As a bonus you can also click the link after my sonnet and read the sonnet Holly Ordway wrote in response to the same image!

Sunset

We’re looking west to where our setting sun
Already out of sight, looks back at us, to fling
His dying splendour to these clouds. They burn
With borrowed gold and crimson, not their own,
Like strips of silk torn from his royal robe,
These flags of hope left by our solar king,
Who sinks for us below the dark horizon
That he might yet encompass all this globe.

He leaves us with the promise of his rising
For all we face the west of his decline,
Already some where else are voices praising
As on the east they glimpse a kindled line.
His setting is a herald of the morn,
We watch the sunset, but we tread the dawn.

now read Holly Ordway’s take on the same image:

Light and Water

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Filed under christianity, imagination, Poems

Renewing Vows for Valentine’s Day

As we approach St. Valentine’s day I thought I might post a sonnet on renewing Marriage vows which I wrote for my wife Maggie. It so happened that I began my ministry as a vicar in All Saints Hartford on Valentines day. I was priest in a beautiful mediaeval church where we had many weddings. Maggie and I decided that we would invite all the couples whose weddings we took there, year by year, to come back to the church each year on Valentine’s day and renew their vows with us as we renewed ours, (I’m delighted to see that my sucesor there is still keeping up the tradition!) and it was out of those yearly renewals that this poem arose. I hope it might be helpful for any couples out there who might want to renew their own vows this coming valentines day, if so please feel free to use or reprint this poem in anyway you like. The words in italics come from the Anglican Marriage service. In some ways this sonnet also continues the reflection on the gift of language and its mysterious powers, which have been the subject of my last few posts. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title.


A Renewal of Vows

So, open up the treasure-casket, love,

the treasure is still there, the hidden things

that love contains. Old words, like wedding rings,

surround their mysteries, they live and move

as breath renews them, burnished as the gold

around our fingers, glowing as we make

the vows that make us new again: I take,

protect, and comfort, cherish, have and hold.

The same old words, that cannot stay the same,

for they have grown, as we have, more than old.

They change and deepen like all things that live,

they compass more and still have more to give:

All that I have is yours, all that I am

I give again, with all I will become.

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Filed under christianity, Poems