Last night, after a long hunt for my hardly ever worn academic hood (found at the bottom of my ‘useful stuff for assemblies box’), I went to the licensing and installation of a new ministry team in the deanery. Great fun! It’s a liturgy with lots of movement around the church, with jangling of keys, pouring of water, ringing the bell and some fairly heavy duty promises. The rural dream had chosen some lovely inclusive hymns for us to sing in between all the action.
Bishop G was in good form. His sermons are still overly long and too much about him (sorry I’ll have to do penance now) but there was this gem at the end. After trawling the net I discovered that it is a poem he wrote.
Between the Full Stop and the Capital
Sentences, like people
need spaces to breathe.
Between the full stop
and the capital
lies the pause.
sentences are breathless,
without the Sabbath
life is restless;
without the pause,
the rest is lifeless.
Sentences, like God,
have a preferential option
for the pause.
(Graham Kings 2007)
I like it! I wish he had preached on this poem rather than tacking it on to end of his sermon. It was almost done as an aside or a postscript; an ‘I must remind ministers to take time to be with God.’
I wish he had preached about God being in the gaps. Perhaps it’s a sermon that I need to write. If I did I would include this prayer that we also said last night.
As we offer our prayers daily to you,
empty us of all that is not you,
make us to be vessels for your love,
ready always to respond to the needs
of those whom you call us to serve.
May your kingdom come,
here and throughout your world,
as it is in heaven,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Empty us of all that is not you, Lord. Help us to leave a gap for you.