14 June 2023 - CITW
14 June 2023 A Candle in the Window Peter Millar
I arise today in the Eternal Flow of Mercy
who was there when the land began to breathe,
when the first tribes began to roam,
and when the colonist came to settle.
I arise today in the eternal Flow of Wisdom
who is dimly perceived in the stones,
the stories and the studies of all our peoples.
I arise today in the Eternal Flow of Life
who seeps through land,
and limb and love.
Ray Simpson, Australia
Say no to Peace
If what they mean by Peace
Is the quiet misery of hunger
The frozen stillness of fear
The silence of broken spirits
The unborn hopes of the oppressed.
Tell them that Peace is the shouting of children at play
The babble of tongues set free
The thunder of dancing feet
And a father’s voice singing
Tell them that Peace
Is the hauling down of flags
The forging of guns into ploughs
The giving of fields to the landless
And hunger a fading dream.
God in our thinking, God in our speaking
God in our acting, God in our stillness
God in our waking, God in our sleeping
God in our meeting, God in our parting.
A well-loved old prayer.
From Loneliness to Solitude: (words by the late Father Roland Walls)
I am suggesting that loneliness is a basic human condition, indeed the fundamental sign of what we are, people made for someone, made for God. Men and women seem to be made in such a way that they are more like vessels, containers. They are not quite the solid three-dimensional animals their bodies make them seem. They have a thirst to be filled, to be completed.
Most people manage to satisfy temporarily the urgent need by work, amusement, friendship, marriage. I am convinced, however, that the centre-piece is incapable of being filled completely except by God who made us in his own image. He keeps us from being satisfied with anything or anybody except himself. To discover this is to turn loneliness into solitude, to turn a curse into a blessing, to turn from death to life. I believe, from experience, that this change can happen to the most complaining, self-preoccupied, frustrated person. I believe that if anyone faces up to the negativity that forced isolation can bring, he or she can make the discovery that the ‘Kingdom of God is within’, that God’s own solitude can be met, in fact, just where the pain is, in the empty aching. As a Christian, I believe God in the person of Jesus Christ has entered on loneliness in his own loneliness of rejection and death, in order to find us where we are lonely.
Sometimes it seems as if he has taken up, unbeknown to us, the only vacant spot there is, and he waits for me to find him there. Some people make this joyful discovery all at once. It may be through a word of Scripture: ‘I will not leave you alone, I will come to you.’ ‘See, I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door, I will come in and sit down with him and share his meal.’
Others make a journey from loneliness to solitude. I found that my first step in coming to terms with my loneliness was when I discovered that I had a freedom, when alone, to be myself. There was no one to impress or play up to or react to. I was just myself. Of course, there is always the temptation to live with dreams of what I might have been, with memories which make me live in the past, or with resentments and self-pity. I had time to look at what really went on inside on me, however much I disliked what I saw. On my own, I could begin to know myself, and not wish to deceive myself.
Or again, at moments you find you can really notice things. When you are alone, books, food, music, weather, the odd sparrow, take on a sharper edge, a quality, a presence that foes unnoticed when company is there. I am able to live more intensely in the middle of the miracle of the existence of things. A new gratitude for little things is released, a gratitude that has an echo and a home in the hollow of my life, a song of thanksgiving to the Lord.
These words are taken from a small booklet ‘From Loneliness to Solitude’ written by the late Roland Walls, founder, many years ago, of the former ecumenical Christian Community in the small town of Roslin, near Edinburgh. This community at Roslin gave hope to many people who
were struggling with life, with poverty, and with homelessness, as well as to many others. My friend John Miller wrote about Roland and the Community in his wonderful book A Simple Life: Roland Walls & The Community of The Transfiguration, St Andrew Press 2014.(Still available)