Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Last Saturday

Mark Townshend can be described as a Hedge Priest; it means, according to Druids, that he is in between Christian and Nature traditions. Between June 2007 and April 2010 Mark Townshend was in a kind of limbo, an Anglican exile that ended with an orthodoxy test and then return of his priestly licence. Nevertheless, he decided to stay out, and thus has been reordained in the Open Episcopal Church (sub-conditione - just in case)

The liturgy represented both aspects, and so some came from the Ordinal of the Liberal Catholic Church and part came from poet and liturgist Revd. Tess Ward.

This was the Solstice Eucharistic element by Revd. Tess ward:

We are approaching the long day
The day for brightness, for lightness, for life-giving renewal
When the sun burnishes at full strength
Rays flaring like the mane of a lion
With courage and energy at its heart.
On this day we will raise the bread of Christ
like a monstrance of life death and new life
drawing us into the power and struggle of God’s Spirit in the world.
This is the day between Pentecost and the Summer Solstice
when the warm earth is bursting with joy
This is the day for rejoicing and being with friends
for fruitfulness and creativity
for celebrating the fire in our spirits
and finding our compasses set at true
as we venture on in our journeys.

But the longest day is a day that must pass
It is the day that looks toward the shortest day
It is the day when the sun will begin to wane
And we are reminded that
light belongs with shadow
flourishing with diminishment
So as the sun draws all to its zenith,
we embrace with love all that must fade.
In silence, let us remember all that is broken in our world at this time……
Those whom we know who need our prayers and holding in the light…….

And let us place ourselves in the divine rhythm of life death and new life
as we come to this table now……..

For Christ was born in the milk and moon of earth
pushed from the dark soupy waters
into a wall-less world.
We saw him with our own eyes
Touched him with our hands
We saw road-dust on his feet, smelt sea-salt in his hair,
Toil behind his finger nails
And gathered round a table with those whose faces are like ours
Planted in a particular time and a place
He took a loaf in his hands and blessed it
He broke it open and said “Take eat, this is my body broken for all that is broken.
Share it to remember me”.
He took a pitcher of wine and poured it into a cup.
He blessed it and said “Drink from this for compassion’s sake for it is my blood poured on this earth so love may flow and heal this troubled world. Share it to remember me.”
And here with the song of the birds
and the abundance of the fruits and flowers
Amongst the orchards and the river and the gentle curve of land
Here amidst the fiery forces of nature
He hung alone upon a tree
rooted in the humus and soil of all that lives.
He gathered all the silence of the mountain times to himself
And let the darkness come upon him.
He plunged down and down and darkly down
through emptiness and chaos, through formless void.
He plunged so deeply and so violently that he touched bottom
And the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep
and shone in the dazzling darkness
and the heavy mass of all that is unhealed was rolled away.
And love carved a space inside the centre
into which a voice might speak
an echo of the first and deepest sound ever made
longing for union
a word issuing forth from the womb of the eternal
a cry so natural it calls us to come to our senses.

For as it was then so now and here
Spirit from the beginning,
breathing through all,
through flame and wave
through land and pore
in the hills and on the shore
and the dear flesh of every one we ever loved.
Come brood over these earthly things
That they may become for us the body and blood of Christ
Breathe peace through the
struggle and the striving
Breathe joy through root and star
Breathe love down to the skin and the sinew,
the blood and the bone,
For you are the lived life.
You dwell within us and among us.
You are here.
You are there.
You are one.

Mark has taken the Rent a Rev. tag from Rev. Horseman, himself marginalised and exiled from the Church of England and who has now retired. So it is a risky venture, but with full freedom to be both a Catholic priest and nature based. Instead of heresy there is creativity.

Here is a prayer from one of the Pagans (I have seen this before):

Grant, O Great Spirit, thy Protection,
And in Protection, Strength,
And in Strength, Understanding,
And in Understanding, Knowledge,
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice,
And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it,
And in the Love of it, the Love of All Existences,
And in the Love of All Existences,
The Love of God/Goddess and all Goodness.

No comments: