Contemplation and Making space.

Contemplation and Making space

Part A. Contemplation

  1. Arriving at where I am – Quiet Day
  2. To wait on God
  3. Prayer of stillness
  4. Silence and stillness
  5. Was it God who found me – in the stillness?

Part B. Subversive Humility

  1. The Naming of Trinity Terrace
  2. Non-Monastic’s Vows
  3. Follow my Leader

Part C. Making Space Community

  1. Making Space Project
  2. Making Space again
  3. God’s womb as the Making Space
  4. Trinity and Making Space

Contemplation.

This collection of poems is a reflection upon Silent Prayer as it approaches Mystical Prayer. Silent prayer is often more about meditation. Nothing here contradicts this Mental Prayer. However, it does more for those who explore how to find union with God through an attitude of love, rather than the application of intellect. Much inspiration has been found in the writings of counterreformation mystics like St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila; and the late 14C mystics like Lady Julian of Norwich, the writer of The Cloud of Unknowing, and many others. The poems in this section called Contemplation, approach this tradition. Teachers from this school often stress the importance of posture. We are encouraged to be upright, alert, still and comfortable with regular breathing. The poem Arriving where I am is a reflection on this theme. Waiting on God explores the importance of God’s initiative rather than of us trying to do anything other than responding to God’s initiative. Having found somewhere quiet and alone it could be said to be surprising to say that when God has found us, we find plenty others are already there. We discover that prayer is more a stream that we join and not something I do. Prayer of Stillness is a reflection upon this and some of the eternal consequences of what happens in worship. The final poems are a conversation between the merits of silence and stillness in this kind of prayer.

Part A Contemplation

Arriving at where I am – Quiet Day

“Come,
Centre yourself,
Take note
of your arrival.”

Myself;
A bundle
Of external stimuli
Stirring within,
And surrounding my body.

The warm,
The coffee,
The tipping mug
Presses to the lips.

And then
The liquid fills
My mouth.
The liquid warms my throat.
It washes through
To my stomach
And I can feel the warmth
Spread through.


Maybe
Because
My body shape;
Sat upright in the chair,
The warm
Seems to spread.

I find my thighs,
And then My legs,
Take the washed,
The made ready,
And the soothed,
Stirrings through my feet.
Through the soles they seep
Into the ground beneath.

So what is left?

The stirrings
To which
I’m firmly
And persistently
Attached.

This is centred.
Being at home,
Being both soothed,
And yet still agitated
About things that really matter.
I find them
Seeping through my feet
Into the ground beneath
Into the place
Where I am found.

Now I know Why – where Jesus stood –
Is Holy ground

A ground Upon which I tread.
For He came, ’cos
God so love the world,
Including
The bit on which I stand.

To Wait on God.

At the sanctuary altar table
Silence bids?
Yet silence is not enough!
Insufficient of itself.

Silence, like stillness, can become
The kind of vacuum
Which no longer fills
A longing to belong.

Attention, Alert, Awake.

Standing
Like a silver service waiter,
Towel on arm, yet trying hard
To stay
Inconspicuous.

Standing.
Waiting to serve immediately
The diner’s every need.
Still, Silent, Attentive
Waiting for,
Waiting on.

––000—

God is present.
An unseen quietness often unobserved.
That when wakened
Is luring, enticing, charming, to every good.

We are present.
Stood bold and silent
Desperately trying not to intrude,
But ready to wait on God’s desire.

We are not kneeling!
Cowering, and filled with shame.
That temptation to avert our gaze
Would be a distraction from our adoration; Our ability to serve.

Standing bold.
Is free of fear
And knows absolution.
And knows ‘being safe’ in service.

For we are waiters,
To be led and charmed.

Waiting on God.

Prayer of Stillness.

Prayer of stillness.
Exists
In turmoil’s midst.
Eyes of adoration
Are lifted above
The rising morning mist
And gaze with searching eyes
To places where
Our ‘eternal’ lies.

Prayer of stillness.
Facing
The ‘yet be born’
Opens contemplation,
Stretches up, reaches to
Touch the sunshine dawn
High above the angered
Agitation.

Prayer of stillness.
Hemmed in
By turmoil’s mist?
Or is it more, instead,
Helpless. Amidst
The mess of furies jostle,
And stillness, secretly inform,
Gathers. Centred,
As the eye of storm.

Prayer of stillness.
Refuses
Easy peace of mind.
God will agitate
Till his will be done,
His Kingdom come
And evil held at bay.
Peace shall disturb,
Till hatred dies away

Prayer of stillness.
Infuse.
And still my body, my mind,
And my desire to choose.
May I in joining
What you’re intending here,
With active help subvert,
All that makes for
Pain and human hurt.

Silence and stillness

Going for
And meditation –
The eradication of noise?

I rather the stillness
To be discovered
On a night out with the boys!

The quest for stillness
Helps the forming
Of a character of poise.

‘Still the body’,
Help cultivate, control,
The way we use our voice.

While stillness
Restrains and limits.
It widens our quiet choice.

—000—

Silence is more than absence of sound.
Stillness is more than rigour mortice setting in.

—000—

Stillness is not frozen
But deliberately chosen.

It is not lack of motion
But a ‘centred becoming’, in location.

It is a concentration and speculation
With minimal information.

It is adoration
And contemplation.

Stillness can live
In any noise
Especially the noise
reaching out for heaven.

Was it God who found me – in the stillness?

Was it God who found me
While I was doing prayer?
couldn’t say I sought him,
Or even accidentally
Stumbled on him there.

I guess if it were true,
He found me times before.
I didn’t notice how
Close closeness was, for sure.

Waiting. Still, sort of still,
While my formulating Daisy-dreams, cloudy thoughts,
And mindful flights are drifting.

My day-dreams didn’t settle
Or quite occupy my mind,
Agitating each other, In kaleidoscopic moves
All muddled and entwined.

—000—

Was staying still
Still enough
For thinking those ideas?
Some ideas evaporate
To consider emptiness
Or so it now appears.

Suddenly,
not knowing when,
it was the whole of self;
Absorbed,
concentrated,
Covered by
intensity.

—000—

A moment lightly borne?
A moment that is still?
A moment quite deliberate,
While fractionally blundering
To apprehend the presence
Of creative wondering.

Was every second now
Like an hour in an instant?
Fleeting time! Retention
By the attitude, of
Apprehending apprehension.

Yet a sort of frozen
effervescence. Not paralysed,
No hint of any bustle
By what became a visitation;
Not that God had travelled;
Rather I had visited
Not moving any muscle

In a way of speaking
That experience endures.

Part B. Subversive Humility

The evangelical counsels: Obedience, Celibacy and Poverty, that have often accompanied the religious life, have always been both subversive as well as marks of meekness. They stand in contrast to the attributes of Power, Celebrity and Wealth.

This section called Subversive Humility sets out to reflect on how this tradition of
challenging meekness can find expression in our own age. Intentional Communities of Disciples stand in contrast to many modern themes.
Intention v Achievement
Community v Individualising
Discipleship v Leadership.

The poems
The Naming of Trinity Terrace
Non-Monastic Vows
Follow my Leader

are related to this theme.

The Naming of Trinity Terrace.

The house we bought
Five beds.
To be a place to live
A common life
Of prayer and
Subversive humility.

We found three flats
And house divided
Quite intentionally.
A house cries out for wholeness
and shared community.

Oh! Was it three in one?
Or was it one in three?
To inspire unity, come community
We named it as the Trinity.

Non-monastic’s Vows.

Poverty?

Aspiration
Not Just Greed
Is for what

We intercede.
Chastity?

Not popular,
But ‘staying true’
Is our Life’s Desire, and cue.

Obedience?

Not leadership
But following Risen Jesus.
In God’s keeping.

Modern Vows?

Not just greed,
Staying true,
Following
Our God, to do.

Follow my Leader.

If I thought
Myself a leader
I would be
Paralysed.

I might have
To look behind me
And see who
Followed.

Suppose no-one
Was behind me;
The landscape
Empty. Vanity of Vanities!

Better think
I’m a disciple,
With companions
Alongside.

I could keep
My eyes fixed ahead,
Upon my hero
Jesus.

Why would I
Waste precious time
Pretending
There can be more than one shepherd.

Part C. Making Space Community

Making Space Community is a dispersed community within the parish of Bedwellty & New Tredegar.

Under the leadership of Rosie Dymond, and later joined by Leah Philbrick, the Making Space Pattern of Life was generated and developed.

The spaces that were integrated with Worship are: Quiet Space, Community Space, Creative Space and Green Space. Each of these spaces contain a constellation of activity from which the members of the community set themselves some targets. The community members began to see these spaces as an outline community pattern of life.

A residential aspect of the community is currently being formed.

Making Space Project.

Making Space
Is a journey
Into inner space
Through the outer space.
A journey into ‘place’.

Making Space
Is into ‘quiet’ Space,
for musing.
Space in adoring.
A journey into prayer.

Making Space
Is into green
Places in our nature,
In which we nurture,
By which we’re nurtured.

Making Space
Is creative.
Space to ‘Make’
Echo-ing our God.
Journey in God’s beauty.

Making Space
Is a journey
Taking prayer to places;
All places being lived;
But being lived together.

Making Space
Is a journey
Done together, lived
With God’s community;
In worship and humility.

Making Space
Is exploring
Our adventures in
Discovered patterns.
Patterns of Holy living.

Making Space Again.

Making space, a crowded sofa,
We all squeeze up
To let another
To have the space be among us.
Making space is inclusion
No matter who we are.

Making space, a great de-clutter,
Not just of things
But times and places
That distract us from God’s wishes.]
Making space; a great downsizing
To simplicity of life.

Making space, a fencing off
Of our special times
And place of prayer.
Not fencing to exclude another,
But keeping special, holding others. Making space with Holy God.

God’s womb as the ‘Making Space’

Our parish speaks of Making Space,
A pattern of creating place
For creative space, and green space,
Quiet space and community space.
In a rhythm and oscillation
Tween worship and celebration.

Our inmost parts within God’s womb
All these spaces, in formation bloom.
In his ‘making space’ we gather.
In our dispersal, knit together.
Born again, his body invigorated,
From his ‘making’ space,
ours is celebrated.

Trinity and Making Space

I have to say
Whichever way
God as trinity
Might well be
Perplexing me.

God as one
And all alone
Is like a dot
That has a spot,
Yet no space God’s got.

I can see
All three
At kitchen table sat,
With love in fact,
Creating; tensioned pact.

Triangulation
Prompts conversation
That can be heard
In the arena, in between,
And begets the word.

Making space
With a human face
Is Godly inheritance,
And in that image, all entrance,
With godly love enhance.

Standing back
Is not a lack
But an active part
To engage the heart
And all our being smart.

Does it depend on where you stand

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