Holy Week

It is not Holy Week without

the heralds shouting hosannas and hallelujahs

without beginning

with an imagination that all is well,

will be well,

that the Messiah is come.

Holy Week involves the turn

from joy to lament

from hosanna to horror

from orientation to disorientation

imagined triumph to witnessed terrors

we sing and celebrate

our feet are washed

our passover transformed

we fall asleep while our saviour weeps alone

we deny even knowing him

even as we have imagined ruling with him

Holy Week reminds us that we have no imagination

for what might be

what will come

the pathways we’d never choose

Holy Week reminds us

in the great disorientations of our own lives

to wait in the darkness

for a dawn that transforms

———-

It’s been a while but I am on the other side of my thesis, on the other side of poetry written for a specific purpose. I am back to the shallow ground that has hardened from neglect. Looking to find my way back.

I am so taken with this turn from the triumphant start of Holy Week – the Palm Sunday hosannas, to a total disorientation, when everything is confused and makes no sense. How much this week encapsulates what it is to be a person on a faith journey where the one you follow refuses to give you all the powerful happy endings you think the story requires.

Holy Week reminds me of the women who set out in the dark – not with any hope for a different narrative, disoriented in grief and were offered a complete reorientation. It feels like a worthy meditation for this season.

Miriam Jessie x

Poetry … more from lockdown

Lockdown, locked in, isolated.

Physical distance, social distance, zoom fatigue.

So has been and continues to be the experience of many this strange year.

This is the second piece of poetry I had published in Stimulus magazine earlier in the year.

It is called 19/20 (as in Covid19 in 2020)

may we all carry the weight and wonder of being incarnate for others.

Miriam Jessie x

Led Reflection – Good Friday

I am always undone by Good Friday.  Every year there seems to be something new to engage with and explore.

I pray this reflection will help you to come to the cross again with a new sense of holy awe and wonder.

May we never rush past what Jesus did for us and for the cosmos.

Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Lead Prayers – Mary Anoints Jesus

This Holy Week I’ve recorded some reflections for people to participate with. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to post one here each day for the next 4 days.

Each one features prayer, scripture and poetry or story and are accompanied by images by dear artist friends. They are about 20minutes long.

They are designed to be done in silence and reflection and could be integrated into your prayer practice. If you are new to reflective practice I encourage you to find a quiet space free from distractions and see it as a new way of praying. The music quality in this one is not great so maybe have a song cued that you can listen to during that part.

They are not without (many) imperfections. However, I hope that they might help in leaning into the days of this most Holy Week in these strangest of times.

Holy Week

A couple of years ago I did the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius with my spiritual director. I found as I set out on the journey to the cross that I didn’t want to walk with Jesus to the cross. I just wanted to be there on Sunday. It is something in me that still needs changing – this ability to enter lament, to be present to pain. May we all have courage to allow ourselves to enter pain and to receive love even there.

Miriam x

IMG_3865

 

I don’t want to walk with you to the cross

don’t want to pass the jeering crowd

or be present to the lonely abyss of Gethsemane

 

I want to stand on Sunday’s horizon

and say

it’s okay Jesus

            look resurrection will come

 

So, like the crowd I condemn

and the disciples I judge

I abandon you

on your walk to the cross

 

I leave you alone

so alone

human man

acquainted with suffering and grief

 

I really just want

the resurrection power

the triumph of the lamb

the roar of the lion

 

so I climb up to my privileged position

and wait at the dawn of Sunday

ready to sing my alleluias

where a stone is rolled away

 

and as I abandon you

I acknowledge I have abandoned others

on their difficult journeys through

death’s valley

preferring to whisper hope

from resurrection’s empty tomb

 

instead of being empty accompaniment

into the cave

where death seems

to have the victory

 

I am afraid of accompanying you

and afraid of accompanying others

I am a broken disciple

 

would you hold this unfaithful

uncomfortable hand in yours

as I attempt not to run away

 

to hold the course for

Gethsemane

Golgotha

and

tomb

 

for as long as my small strength holds on

The Room

I was asked to give a talk on the value of creativity recently. I finished it with this poem.

May we all take up the room!

stars

THE ROOM

we stand here on the edge of a room

this room, our lives

we observe the players

moving across the floor

admire their skills

the grace with which they carry themselves

their confidence

 

but this room is our life

this one wild life we have been given

with such generosity

 

to stand in the world at this time

on this whenua

with these skills

with this voice that might ring out and make its story heard

 

are you hanging out at the edges?

convincing yourself to shrink so no-one will notice what you lack

allowing the brilliance of others to loom large

overshadowing your horizon

 

throw off the cloak of small surrender

and waddle like the toddler you know yourself to be

stand

in the centre of your life

and sing

or dance

or build your sandcastle

 

will you fall and fail?

or hit a wrong note

or find you can only create something imperfect?

 

yes, you will

 

you will be weaker than you’d like to be

disappointed in the gap

but you will be growing steadily into

skills that will one day inspire others

 

every child must crawl, or bum shuffle, or commando their own way to walking with confidence

so it is with us

 

if we are to be more than outputs measured by economic scales

if we are to tell the story we would like to tell

let us start today

with one small thing that brings us joy

 

apologising not

for taking up space in this life

 

may we hold life with wonder

do our thing with bravery

 

let us be curious,

let us be joyful,

let us be courageously creative in a world that invites us only to small perfections

 

let us take up space

let us own

the room

miriam jessie

x