Abounding in love for me, you don’t
Belittle me. You are
Caring and compassionate my
Darling, whom I love dearly. You
Excite and exhilarate me, not
Forgetting that which pleases me. You
Give of yourself generously with
Honesty and humour. You are
Kind with a particular kindness engendering
Longing and laughter. You
Make love with skill. You’re mindful of my
Needs. You’re never
Quarrelsome, but ever
eXplain why I love
You and pursue you with such
I will celebrate the victory of my God in silence, and in song.
I will gaze upon the likeness
Of the one-who-was pierced.
I will touch the mystery
Of the dead-one-living.
I will trace his signature over my heart:
North to south
East to west:
King of Kings
Lord of Lords.
I will open my mouth to sing the serenade of the stars,
The song of the angels before the throne of God.
I will shout into the sunrise, a canticle for my King:
The Lord is Risen -
I will bury myself in his joy,
And, with laughter,
I will rise again.
Easter is as Christmas to me now.
I remember, with a half-sad smile,
How once it was: to live
Yes! Yes. I shall stand before the fire
And sing of god-dead and hope-failed
Then, again, in wonder
Shout the Exsultet, that
Great and ancient hymn and,
Know, yes, KNOW
That beneath my new-born wariness,
Someone stirs, and calls:
“Arise, my darling,
My beautiful one,
Come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains
Are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth: the
Season of singing has come.”
Easter is paradox to me. I have a belief in Presence that is so deep, that it cannot be touched. Though no longer conventionally religious, I will take part in the great Vigil of Easter, and be blessed. The quote at the end of this poem is from the wonderful Song of Songs.
Is everything in place? I survey the Tea Table with a critical eye:
Urn: full and switched on. Check.
Tea, coffee, juice: All present and correct.
Mugs, milk, sugar, juice cups: OK
We’re ready for the off. Some Mondays a vital element is missed, and chaos ensues when our people roll in. The importance of getting everything just so, cannot be understated. The Tea Table is the first port of call. The ‘meet and greet’ of the Salvation Army Monday Lunch. Volunteer Meryl offers to help. She’s good, but unfocussed; regarding the Tea Table as a stepping stone to the job she’s really on fire for, chatting to the clients. Me, I’m in my element. Smiling and saying hello is a particular strength of mine and I play up to it. I am glad of Meryl’s help with the initial rush: she wields the teapot whilst I serve the coffe and oversee juice distribution.
We are going to serve sixty or more lunches today. I see that we have three new faces, I make a mental note to follow up on the hello when things quieten down a bit.
Johan takes two coffees for himself and Cordelia. I slip him a lawyers business card. Cordelia has an injury acquired at the chicken processing factory and can no longer work. They sleep in a car.
Andrew takes his tea black. He’s a retired librarian and a polyglot. He once taught me to say hello in Serbo-Croat, but I have long forgotten how. He’s Jewish, and very accommodating to we Christians. He knows the Law and The Prophets far better than we do, and loves an argument.
Dave’s in today. Haven’t seen him for weeks. He’s lost four and a half stone. He looks brighter, having just had his benefits reinstated. An official at the Job Centre sanctioned him( ie stopped his money) for non- attendance at a scheduled appointment that he hadn’t attended because she’s omitted to notify him about it Her superior eventually overrulled her. “You were lucky this time,” the unrepentant official told Dave.
Dave lost weight because he couldn’t afford to eat. “I’ll come with you next time.” I promise.
Alex appears and offers to serve drinks whilst I move round the tables and chat.
Chris is looking rough. He’s South African, a Catholic: former seminarian. I don’t ask why he never became a priest. I discover he is a member of Opus Dei “Do you know about it?” He asks. “Only from Dan Brown!” I laugh. Andy hears him say that he has no money, and having been in that situation himself, he butts in on the conversation and tells him where to get vouchers for the Food Bank.
Welfare Officer at the Council Offices. I’m grateful to Andy. I’m often asked and usually refer people to , “Help The Aged”, because that’s where my brother got his vouchers when he needed them. Chris isn’t old enough.
I have a stack of books for Brian who now has his driver’s license and is looking SO much better now that he’s receiving treament for PTSD. He opens the bag and rummages with genuine delight. ‘Just what I wanted!” He exclaims at Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. I knew that, and having never more than glanced at it, was happy to hand it over. I hope, with all my heart, the more fundamentalist of the helpers didn’t spot it! We Catholics have no problem with Darwin, or any human attempt to fathom the miracle of Creation. I gave him “99 Things To Do Between Here and Heaven” too, having reasoned that I’ve done all the ones I want to (including starting this blog) and there’s a spiritual reflection on each, that will lead Brian a little deeper, if he so wishes.
I’m called over by Karen and Anthony to sort out a problem. My very favourite occupation, truth be told. “What’s the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?” They want to know. Anthony’s RC, Karen’s C of E, and they are planning to marry in Church. Somewhere.
I throw myself eagerly into the fray. It’s a useful discussion that involves everyone on the table. I was expecting hostility, but discover none. “Marry in the RC Church, and the Anglicans will bless it. That’s how my daughter and son-in-law managed it. And you, young man,” I wave my finger in mock-menace at Anthony, “Had better get yourself off to Mass and book the Church!” Everyone laughs.
“Look,” I finish, “We volunteers are from many Christain denominations. We’re here to do the job Christ left us to do. What’s important is this coming together, all of us, and sharing the love of God.”
Brian asks where I go to church, “Newent.”I reply, “But if youre looking for somewhere, you couldn’t do better than here.”
God Bless the Salvation Army.
PS: All that I know of Opus Dei may be found here: