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Dan Flavin

The Surface of God

Gary’s Essay for his 1st Eucharist at St John & St Stephen’s. 25 June 2017

Dan Flavin – The Surface of God

Light and Nothingness
Dan Flavin’s simple yet powerfully evocative light installations are beguiling to the eye and the senses. His fluorescent tubes poised at geometric angles evoke a new awareness of our surroundings. Yet Flavin describes these pop-art works as simple and without depth, ‘they are only surface, don’t look for meaning.’

Only surface, without meaning?… yet look again; what a surface is revealed! These light-works intensify the everyday into an experience of oddness; light, shadow, texture and silhouette become vividly re-imagined or re-encountered through the saturation of colour. The surface reveals and is revealed; the viewer is immersed and reintroduced to a moment of presence in the world, and re-acquainted with the material and texture of the everyday.

Maybe in the Eucharist/Holy Communion we see something of this; Christ as ‘the surface of God’ is revealed and revealing, drawing us to an awareness of ‘the other’ as divine and human; clothed in nature and wonder, branch and leaf. We are invited to feast on Christ – the one who draws all things together.

Myth and symbol.
Post/modernity opens a world of truth beyond the rational and to look deeper at myth and symbol; through the living metaphors of baptismal water and the bread and wine of Eucharist we are caught up into the revelation and salvation of God incarnated in our mortal flesh.

Sacramental action is encountered in symbolic or mythic narrative. ‘The crucial function of myth is to make sacred history.’ This Eucharistic liturgy embodies a reality made real within our rehearsal, yet the mythic form remains fluid, undergoing processes of evocation, elaboration and interrogation.

Embracing otherness.
Although Eucharist can represent something reassuringly familiar it also remains deeply strange; but this strangeness may be the point! ‘Despite our attempts to contextualise worship in culture, communion points us beyond our present context, it relativises our best efforts to be relevant’.
‘In every religion’, Chauvet suggests, ‘one observes a break between the ritual “scene” and the “scene” of ordinary life’. To participate fully in the symbolic language and action of the Eucharist requires ‘a language that breaks away from the ordinary’. Ward calls this ‘de-contextualisation’, the point where contextual theology bows and gives way to the otherness of sacramental activity – to let the abstract to be abstract.

Agape – hospitality and encounter.
Yet at its heart Eucharist remains a simple meal – an agape – and simple hospitality is disarming. The table becomes a place of radical welcome; as in Babette’s Feast it ‘interrupts the narrative’, announcing joy in places of hostility. ‘Meeting at a table with a group of strangers has the incomparable and odd benefit of making it a little more difficult to hate.’

Here then, the communal body of Christ is a dynamic in-between-ness of the giving, receiving, and charitable sharing of God’s gift. Divine and human desires enter into a deep sense of intimacy and reciprocity in this Holy Communion. Community is nurtured.

So the inclusive feast of a simple agape meal honours the coded symbols of the ritual, whilst also subverting them. The symbolic ‘code’ of Eucharist is really no code at all, presence gives way to absence as our multi-faceted interpretations allude to its continuing non-containability.

Any time you’re on the earth, kiss me.
So we join together this morning; prayers rise like incense, bodies move and bow; voices sing and silence is known; heaven meets us in our flesh. Like the light of Flavin’s art – the strangeness makes our senses come alive – in taste, touch, sight and sound. We are reminded that the work of our hands, the struggles of life, and the gifts of God meet through earth, flesh, wheat and grape – making bread and wine divine. The blessing of God is within human endeavour; a real presence in material things.

So come, taste and see; all are welcome.

Gary

 

 

  • Img Copyright. David Urbanke 2013.
    http://davidurbanke.tumblr.com/page/29

 

 

HolyWeek-2015-8

Holy Week with the Existentialists: Easter Sunday – Resurrection

Easter Sunday – Resurrection
Mt. 28:1-13; Mk. 16:1-20; Lk. 24:1-49; Jn. 20:1-31

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”
Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

 

Meditation – Make some space to think

The garden is so beautiful this morning… Early sunlight breaks through the trees warming the glistening grass, dawn’s expectant mist clings to the earth.. brooding, poised, waiting… The chorus of birdsong is vivid, spring’s colours come alive, the night exhales into day, the world feels different.

Shouts can be heard; women running away through the garden, in the distance, yelling or screaming – it’s hard to tell, but their is a flavour of excitement in their voices.

A surprise – a resurrection – but not as we expect; quiet, subdued, wiser, beautiful, and unexpected. The kiss of desire runs deep in the fabric of time and space, like a new light breaking through an eclipse.
A resurrection not by escaping this world, but by embracing it. Life and love combine in the stories of nature, seasons, people and G-d. Contours of hope and possibility weaving through each moment, each experience.

It had seemed like love was exposed, absorbed, devoured, contained…
But now we perceive that love itself is exposing, absorbing, devouring … beyond containing.

Tenderly embracing both anguish and transcendence, love overcomes fear, overcomes hatred, overcomes empire, overcomes war, overcomes death, overcomes racism, overcomes sexism, overcomes ecological destruction, overcomes indifference, overcomes boredom, overcomes greed, overcomes division.

Love wins.

Prayer

Give thanks for life, for the gift of a new day with new possibilities. Resurrection is all around you, all the time.

Honour and treasure the gift of life, its kaleidoscope colours, its pain and joys, its light and darkness…

To celebrate something means to share it; reflect on how to make space for others – so that they to can enjoy the gift; spread love, offer hope, work for justice, remain discontent, challenge the powers, remember the other – be enriched by them … and release the joy!

 

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Music:

I Believe In You by Talk Talk     (Gary’s path)
Home Sweet Home by Tommy Lee    (Vincent’s path)

All Holy week posts can be found here


Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. In it we see Jesus and his followers going through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.

IMG_6182

Holy Week with the Existentialists: 2017

“…we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

 

Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. Within the story Jesus and his followers go through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles, and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in voicing and sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.

Palm Sunday – Hope/Celebration

 HolyWeek-2015-1

Monday – Rage/Injustice

HolyWeek-2015-2

Tuesday – Questions

HolyWeek-2015-3

Wednesday – Betrayal

HolyWeek-2015-4b

Maundy Thursday – Love and Despair

HolyWeek-2015-5

Good Friday – Suffering

HolyWeek-2015-6

Holy Saturday – Silence

HolyWeek-2015-7

Easter Sunday – Resurrection

HolyWeek-2015-8

HolyWeek-2015-7

Holy Week with the Existentialists: Holy Saturday – The Silence

Holy Saturday – The Silence

“human being’s absence from the presence of God, a Deus absconditus, is but a reflection of God’s exile from God’s self” .
Ralph Harper

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”.
Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125

His grace is no longer called for
before meals: farmed fish multiply
without His intercession.
Bread production rises through
disease-resistant grains devised
scientifically to mitigate His faults.
Yet, though we rebelled against Him
like adolescents, uplifted to see
an oppressive father banished –
a bearded hermit – to the desert,
we confess to missing Him at times.
– from ‘Missing God’, by Dennis O’Driscoll


Meditation – Make some space to think

It was over. The disciples, both women and men, sat together; scared, anxious, heart-broken and confused.

The silence which had overcome them these last few days remained. Pain destroys language, and had robbed them from anything to say.. no way to contain what they had experienced. The contrast from the hope at the beginning of the week, through the contours of bewilderment at Jesus rage, wonder at his teaching and a growing sense of unease as fevered clouds loomed over Jerusalem.

And then everything went wrong; blood, nails, tears, despair. Their teacher mocked, their friend broken, there hope dead.
Violence had won, death had overcome love; fear, hatred, domination regained control. The dream of insurrection – the ‘kingdom’ he called it, of love and justice – dashed against cold walls of indifference.

The air around them felt heavy, dark and humid, like a great weight in their midst, a gravity holding them close to the earth.. to this moment, unable to free themselves.. to escape. They were held together in a voiceless waiting…contours of longing allowing the process of silence to interrogate them, and for them to interrogate the silence.

They believed he was the son of God, (whatever that actually meant), but they witnessed God abandon him, they saw it – heard his cries, his torment. they were all orphans now. If the son was dead, was God dead also?

Sometimes in our own lives there are moments of waiting – waiting in silence and waiting for silence to do its work upon us; opening and emptying us. The silence can be full of fear, anxiety, depression. It is all too easy to anticipate an outcome, to pre-suppose God’s blessing, an answer to prayer, or some means of release… we repeat mantras of God’s love even though we don’t believe their denial of reality.

But the moment demands our attention, calls us back to live the experience, whatever it may contain. The emptying place is the divine place… not a shelter from the storm, but the storm itself.

The disciples and friends waited, felt, wept and consoled each other… they longed too for the first light of the new day.. the women  poised to anoint Jesus’ corpse… Once done, then they would begin to imagine what  to do next.

Prayer

Spend your own time with the silence. Allow your prayers and thoughts to explore two aspects of God; silence as presence, and silence as absence. What is the texture of both?

Imagine yourself as one of Jesus followers… waiting, but not knowing what comes next… there is no plan.. no ‘tomorrow’, the world has truly stopped. What do you do, how do you pray, (or do you even try?).

Finally, pray – or hold in your thoughts – those you know who are facing an unremitting silence.

 

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Music:

Wholy Holy by Marvin Gaye     (Gary’s path)
If I Go, I’m Going by Gregory Alan Isakov    (Vincent’s path)

All Holy week posts can be found here


Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. In it we see Jesus and his followers going through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.

IMG_6194

Good Friday – The party at the foot of the cross

Music highlights (in no particular order)

Samuel Barber – String Quartet in B Minor, Op 11
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Sea of Vapours
Guy Sigsworth – O Virtus Sapienta
Arvo Part – Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten
Brian Eno – Lux
Jam & Spoon – Ancient Dream
John Tavener – Song for Athene
Gabriel Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48 – 2. Offertoire
Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares – Pritouritze Planinata
Tsintskaro – Hamlet Gonashvili  (extra points if you can identify where this song has been also used)

HolyWeek-2015-6

Holy Week with the Existentialists: Good Friday – Suffering

Good Friday – Suffering
Mt. 27:1-66; Mk. 15:1-47; Lk.22:66-23:56; Jn. 18:28-19:37

 

“…we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

 

Meditation – Make some space to think

Seven words; his last words… words of love, words of pain, dereliction and abandonment. Was this how it should end? Looking down from this tree of pain and seeing those he loved, and those who loved him. Alongside them, faces of casual indifference, and structural violence. He sees his mother, her tears unstoppable.. he looks for his father…

Father?.. father? The heat and the pain wreaking havoc with his thoughts, the noise the cloud, the sounds  bright flashes of sorrow dazzling his vision, yet he recalls again… ‘Father!’ – the carpenter, that’s who he remembered, yes the carpenter, gone too soon, the pain of loss etched into memory… yes “father how I miss you..” but no.

Another father; yes another father he loved. He remembers in moments, sparks of inspiration. The father of all, the father and the son.. and the spirit of life.. where is the son?.. no, wait, he is the son.. maybe (the barracking crowds confuse his thoughts). Where is father? the father he asked to forgive them, the father whose seems to love all.. but ..  not.. him. The father who hears his cries and responds. With nothing.

“My God, My God!”

He remembers food, and laughter, the embrace of strangers, the people released to live again. He remembers the fullness of life, the stars in the sky, the moments of passion and joy. Gone so soon. He is weary, fading, emptying. How did it get to this? The exuberance of life swallowed encroaching death. Was this all wrong? Should he have lived differently? Was there some other way? Would his vision be forgotten?

His father remains silent. The ‘Abba’, uncaring, he is like a child crying for absent comfort, yet senses it too, in the last whispers of love as his vision dims. Somehow, even now, he is not alone; somehow he feels the inevitability of people’s suffering.. he sees himself in that suffering too; his tears, other’s tears; his mourning, other’s mourning. He is lifted … one last time, in the fractured beauty of humanity. Love, pity and solidarity mingle in the clamoring noise, the ringing in his ears, the yells, the sobs. They are all together in the loss of God, the loss of all gods

His mother, the other side of this scene… her loss beyond words, a pain beyond language. Memory; touch, sound, smell, blood, perfume, condense into this one point, as if all his life inexorably raced to this event. But so much still to say.

“Finished”, he tries to say – sounds, barely audible, gurgling in his throat, “it is finished”.

(a snowflake falls gently on his brow).

 

Prayer

Jesus dying with us. God tasting death. God dying. God abandoned by God. A rift inside of God, a split that was not there before, the ache of sorrow inside of God.

Is the good news of Good Friday found in its absence? The good news of divine passion woven into our stories of pain.
Pray for places, people and situations where “my God my God, why have you forsaken me?” is the only prayer to say.

Pray about the times to struggle, and the times to let go.

Pray for a deeper awareness of the moments which make up a life.

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Music:

Boy Child by Scott Walker     (Gary’s path)
Willow Weep for Me by Clark Terry     (Vincent’s path)

All Holy week posts can be found here


Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. In it we see Jesus and his followers going through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.

HolyWeek-2015-5

Holy Week with the Existentialists: Maundy Thursday – Love & Despair

Maundy Thursday – Love & Despair
Mt. 26:17-46; Mk. 14:12-52; Lk.22:7-65; Jn. 13:1-30, 18:1-11

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I knew perfectly well the cars were making a noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn’t hear a thing.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“In the face of this terrible and merciless sacrifice offered up to Him, God has remained silent.”
Shūsaku Endō, Silence

 

Meditation – Make some space to think

Jesus was loved. He knew he was loved. No wonder he was the child of God; his mother and father told him so, treated him so, and his friends too! He lived for love.

Yet here in this moonlit garden, after a final tender moment dwelling in both love and encroaching fear, he was alone. The contrast of love and despair was overwhelming. He cries to God, looking for some answer, some meaning, some glimmer of hope. There is nothing, there is silence.

The taste of bread and wine still on his trembling lips, now stung by the salt of tears. He tries to find comfort in memory, (his beautiful friends), but the warmth of intimacy is now giving way to a hollowing ache… the aching ache.

He tries to form a prayer, so far from anyone to hear. The words begin, yet once again are devoured by the hungry night. The ache consumes him, overwhelms him; cold, silent, empty, nothing.

Somewhere beneath tiring limbs lay the dream he had lived for, already caught in currents of indifference, drifting in doubt.

He remembers the bond that was once so strong, the fragile reign of something better, is it too tender to survive the storm? Like his tears, his name and his story were already drifting into the cold night’s gloom. Yet the love remained. Somehow he felt that this isolation joined with the isolation of others.. those he had met, the women, the lepers, the outcasts, the betrayed. Somehow he felt closer to them than he had ever felt before. The isolation contained it’s own solidarity. He hoped .. one last time  for rescue… release… escape.. an answer to prayer. But there was nothing; no sound, no warmth; an empty space, an ache of silence.

The end of all endings.

He lets go…

Prayer

For those we know facing that same silence, the apparent indifference, and the isolation of despair; let us make spaces of solidarity.
Take time to pray, to think, to act, to weep.
Sometimes there really are no answers.
Only the ache of love.

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Music:

Magneto by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds      (Gary’s path)
Stuck in the Metal by Eagles of Death Metal      (Vincent’s path)

All Holy week posts can be found here


Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. In it we see Jesus and his followers going through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.

HolyWeek-2015-4b

Holy Week with the Existentialists: Wednesday – Betrayal

Wednesday – Betrayal
Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10-11; Lk.22:1-6

“Now I know I’ve got a heart, because it’s breaking.”
The Tin Man, The Wizard of Oz

“One should not underestimate the courage it takes to heal from a human betrayal. Betrayal invariably affects the psyche to its deepest roots. When it is made conscious, it is experienced as a threat to one’s own being, and the path toward healing is paved with pain.”
Diane Courineau Brutsche (Jungian Analyst)

“There is no betrayal more wounding than the betrayal of love. It touches us in our most vulnerable spot, that of the helpless child who is totally dependent on another. This child always emerges in any relationship where the possibility of trusting in another person exists.”
Jacqueline Wright (psychologist)

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword”
Oscar Wilde, The Ballad Of Reading Gaol

Meditation – Make some space to think

As he placed that final final kiss on Jesus’ cheek, Judas must have wondered how he ended up in this situation. His love for Jesus was certain, he’d followed him, listened to him, believed in him.. he was the one. Yet here he was handing him over to authorities, only now sensing the weight of inevitable tragedy that was about to unfold.
To love, and to betray… he had always imagined they were so far apart, yet now, in this gloomy garden he understood they were closely connected. The exposure to love and be loved walks closely to the cliff edge of loss, betrayel or misunderstanding.

Yet, what did Jesus feel? The horror of being betrayed is one of the worst experiences in life, it devours trust, re-writes history and story, it cuts deep into our sense of identity. How hollow did the kiss on his cheek feel, what emptiness was placed there? Pain becomes language-destroying.

To love God might mean to betray God, to sense the Judas within ourselves. Maybe it is inevitable. We say we love God but miss the call of the stranger; the outsider, the hungry, the homeless, the earth. Yet loving God is these things… To love God is to fail, and to still love, and to know love.

But there is more.. maybe to love God is to lose God anyway; the images, the codes, the practices we have built up around God. As we empty ourselves of the expectation we contain God within, we ask are we really betraying God, or the imagination of what we think God is about? Did Judas betray, or obey?

And finally, can that emptiness be given by God to us… or the experience of it. What if God lets us down? Are we betrayed by God or our own expectations? The Psalm writers wrestled with God, argued with God, challenged God to be God. What is the authentic engagement with God in the situation of a harsh landscape?

Prayer

In silence think about these issues. Allow your prayers or your silence to hold you safely and then brush close to the past; but not too close. Be kind to yourself, keep a safe distance and observe yourself. Allow the space to reflect. Be honest to yourself and to God.

HolyWeek-Album-2017

Music:

Undertow by Warpaint      (Gary’s path)
Bros by Wolf Alice      (Vincent’s path)

All Holy week posts can be found here


Welcome to this series of Lent Reflections.

These reflections can be used in conjunction with the second Lent Album,
One Day Like This’, which is intended to evoke both space and mood.

Existentialist thinkers were concerned with how it feels to be alive. An awareness that we are alive—in any situation—reinforces a sense of identity. What do moments in time give to our awareness of who we are, where we fit in the world, in our communities, in the universe?

Holy Week is the most vivid and emotional week of the Church calendar. In it we see Jesus and his followers going through extreme human emotions; celebration, hope, doubt, fear, friendship, betrayal, isolation and surprise—emotions that we all encounter through our lives. The sharp contours of our lives, struggles and joys all contain the touch of divinity.

These daily meditations invite you to reflect upon your moments in time and place. They remind us that extremities of human experience can make us feel fully alive or totally isolated. Yet in sharing our experience, we realise that we are not alone; there is solidarity in humanity, and solidarity with the very human Christ.