Friday, May 08 2020
‘The Bright Field’ by R. S. Thomas
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
At our recent clergy conference, former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold gave three lectures with Bishop Geralyn Wolf (who had planned to join us for Easter). They presented, “Going deeper in the Word and in Prayer.” Their talks aligned perfectly with our Gospel reading from John 14 for this week. Thomas asks the Lord, “How can we know the way?” Jesus replies, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” St. Augustine said, ““O Lord, do I love Thee. Thou didst strike on my heart with Thy word and I loved Thee.” This week in morning prayer, we have been reading the 5th chapter of Matthew. In the beatitudes we get an idea of the love, grace, peace, and hope of God in Jesus Christ. In bible study, we looked at Acts chapter 14. Paul is traveling in Turkey and the Holy Spirit is lighting a fire in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles. I ask you to meditate on the words of today’s Gospel and follow the daily lectionary in morning prayer at 9AM with all of us. When we look at the Word of God daily, the Holy Spirit has a way of bringing a message to our hearts that offers comfort and direction when we are suffering and lost. You have told me that you miss the physical touch of one another and the Holy Eucharist on Sundays. The Word of God and prayer combine to help those who are hurting toward the new path that is ahead of us. We see angry people on the television that do not know where they are going. I ask you to turn your frustration to the Lord who says, “Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. 7:28) I promise you that if you follow Jesus Christ, you will be on the best possible path and together, we will get through this pandemic. St. John’s is strong because we love one another in community, but we are also strong because of our faith in the Word of God and in our prayer.
Bishop Wolf used the example of Moses taking off his sandals when he came to the burning Bush. She explained how you cannot go very far when you are not wearing shoes because the desert has many small pebbles that aren’t very comfortable to stand on in bare feet. In other words, we are stuck in our houses and are now a captive audience for our Lord. We are uncomfortable standing on the small pebbles where we are right now. We are suffering and in need of God. The ramifications of this Covid 19 pandemic for our future are unclear, but they are certainly scary to many. Bishop Wolf offers the Word of God and prayer as a way for the Holy Spirit to touch us deeply because many of us are in need and paying attention. The sun will break through the field again. Maybe you can’t see it right now, but if you look towards the burning bush or the treasure that we are willing to give everything to possess. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. God has seen your suffering and heard your prayers. God will strike your heart through the Word and prayer if you will just take a few moments each day. If you will be present with a contemplative heart in the coming weeks, you will witness the Living God in your presence, and you will be transformed forever.