June 21, 2012 – the twenty-fifth day since Pentecost

Is there a going away in your immediate future – a journey.

These words of parting come from Erice Fairbrother of Aotearoa / New Zealand and they are followed by new words of hers reflecting on Ezekiel.

Taking leave
When the trees are shaken and bending
And my head is pressed to the wind;
When the sun falls and my heart is in shadow
And the earth is hard under my feet;
I leave for the track through the foothills
For the bush that is silent and still,
Where totara* lie ancient and fallen,
At peace with their scars and their death;
Where the ferns have no fear of unfolding,
Nor the sky, of the kauri* and beech;
I find in this bush that is wordless,
Where light is at ease with the dark,
A greening on paths that are endless
And earth that gives speech to the heart.
*totara- a confer prized by the Maori for its timber’s durability and length

*kauri also an evergreen, the world’s oldest wood

In the valley of bones
I looked on the face of the dead
And they said
We are dead
We are dead
I looked on the face of the dead
And I said
You will live
You will live
I heard my voice echo
like a stone
rolling away
into silence

Erice writes this explanation … any comments out there?

It is funny writing to you when I am in my pj’s having breakfast and you are in bed because it’s night! The first verse is what I see in this parish I have come into, the second relates to doing the clergy thing of ministry the way one was trained (proclamation,  call to faith, & expect miracles perhaps) and the third is the real engagement, the actual experience of ministry in the church at this time. If we let the stone roll away we are confronted with the true emptiness of ministry engagement – a place which might be of terror or of “shelter” – but there is no resolution as the church is still in the main still in verse two. Well that’s quite enough thinking for breakfast time!

If you would like to purchase a copy of Gifts in Open Hands, please go here.

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