2014. szeptember 16., kedd

A beautiful space


There is an immense beauty in attempting to find a nourishing centre for our lives. Christians put an emphasis on finding the vivifying centre. Both, personal and 'general' history invite us to this journey. While praying Psalms 132 and 133 from Common Worship, Morning Prayer, a special 'wind' is perceived. It comes from the centre of our lives… It is whirling, moving, and moves us, makes us open.

It is said that identity is always best defined in terms of a 'double identity'. Being an English-European, a Christian-European, an Anglo-Catholic ‒ are expressions of this firmer grounded identity. If we have no other option than living in a world which has become irrevocably pluralistic, global, and complex, we need to build up a dialogue between our self and the history. Finding this healthy gap between us and the world is liberating. It is that 'space' which makes us humans. In it we have distance from the events of the world; and from ourselves.

The Temple of the Lord is a powerful expression of this need. Also, the 'Temple' is that pole which sets up a space for reflection. This 'psychic space' is filled up by love. That is why the vision of the world and ourselves which we acquire in this human interior, is the only objective vision of our lives. Psalm 132 makes us understand the value of the effort to build a Temple to the Lord or restore it. 'I will not allow my eyes to sleep, nor let my eyelids slumber, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob' (Psalm 132,4-5).

However impenetrable and chaotic the world surrounding us might be, we know one thing for sure. This is the core of the Biblical experience of the divine. Namely, that it is Beauty which attracts and redeems us. We must utter these beautiful words which can reverse the whole course of derailed human history. 'Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity.  It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard.' (Psalm 132,2-3) This alternative history of beauty in us which is solely redemptive for whatever happens in time and space.  




O, Lord of history. Through the gate of your Psalms

Let us enter into the beautiful dance which happens between you and our world.

It is our alternative history, the story of our true self. We pray

That in this beautiful space, the river of your love, we might realise

That everything becomes real in you, Lord of history.

Make us also realise that this miracle of transformation,

Of which core is our desire for unity, cannot take place

Without others, without our fellow human beings being

Put to the centre of our lives. Amen.




2014. szeptember 14., vasárnap

A Prayer in your Presence

The very sad news that jihadists beheaded their British hostage, David Haines, prompts our response, in terms of prayer. The words of the Psalmist came to mind from today's Morning Prayer. "The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down." (Psalm 146,9) Putting aside the political interests of the sides in this already global 'Third World War', we can focus on the objective wound which has opened up with this killing. Indeed, there is an objective damage caused in History. This killing is remembered in Salvation History. It is Salvation-History, precisely on the ground, that God does not let injustice done by humans to humans pass. From a global perspective, and this is part of restoring our sense of history, we are called to mourn David. The wound emerged in his loss, is not an empty space. It is not a passing empty hole in time and space. If we have a closer look at his passing away from among us, we can see the emergence of the Angel of History in the very gate of the killing. He is wearing a red robe and is erect about the scene. The Lord watches over the killers. They are under judgement not by humans, but the Lord himself. The way of the wicked indeed has been turned upside down. Divine judgement has already found the killers already.
We are also given another presence. In the disquieting shadow that the Angel projects, we are hearing the words of the Psalm, uttered and prayed by the Spirit of Salvation History. "Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger. The Lord looses those that are bound; The Lord opens the eyes of the blind." (Psalm146, 6-7) This is a judgement upon us, survivors. A chance for healing.


O, God, remember the pain of the family of David Haines.
Awake us from our manifold blindness
and restore the sense in us that we belong to your Salvation History
where no injustice remains invisible and forgotten. O, God, our
Lost Father, as part of our return to your house of love,
make us partakers of your of peacemaking in the world.
Send us, first, to the sources from which Peace may spring from,
then to our world, which cannot see from the tremendous thirst
it has become. Amen.


2014. szeptember 11., csütörtök

On Psalms 113,115 ­- Praying with the Books of Common Prayer and Common Worship (Psalm-meditations)

"From the rising of the sun to its setting / let the name of the Lord be praised." (Psalm 113,3). Psalms 113 and 115 are allocated as today's prayers for the Morning Prayer. Psalms are like an iconistasis, a wall of icons in the Church. They are icons of our own history. Praying the Psalms offers a unique opportunity to contemplate the depth of history in which we live. They offer an insight into history's complex life; into our own interconnected lives.
Following the news of world- and local politics, it seems, they fixate us in a constant flux. The iconostasis of history, which we are privileged to contemplate through the Christian prayer, has a profound effect upon us. It restores our sense of history. We become capable of seeing unity into an otherwise dangerously fragmented realm. And this is a vital faculty in our mediatised, computerised "e-age". In The Times Henry Kissinger said that the problem with today's politicians is that they have lost the sense of history. Together with their world they respond to what happens on the web. The ageing politician insinuates that leaders and peoples have become too internet-dependent. They are captive of emotional responses. Indeed, in the lack of a proper distance from history (the present) there is no proper engagement with this nervous medium. Arriving back to our Psalm-icons, without a "third eye", there is no proper analysis. We can see the consequences of developing its synonim, genuine historical responsibility. When we are responsible for the depth of our analysis, gestures and words.
Psalms 115 and 116 are governed by one single theme, which underlies their words. Peace. "From the rising of the sun to its setting / let the name of the Lord be praised." (Psalm 113,3). This line is of prophetic value. This line is a judgement upon us today. When I pray, I can hear a voice inside, which the historical Psalmist, the Spirit of God shares with us. Look! There is no peace in your world! "From the  rising of the sun to its setting" we are called to face this lack. The archetype, the Source of this Peace, which could smooth the entangled ways of peoples and nations in their Laoconic wrestling, is there, however. It is always among us told in this equally prophetic line: "The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens" (Psalm113,4.) Indeed, we can call it a prophetic statement as we should no longer taken for granted the meaning of "God". Neither in the Roman Catholic Church, nor in the Church of England. God, to whom our doctrines and liturgies point, so to say, are "beyond" our Psalms. We have to re-learn to contemplate this source of Peace. "Who is like the Lord our God that has his throne so high, yet humbles himself to behold the things of heaven and earth?" (Psalm 113,5).
The closing Prayer of the Psalm in Common Worship is wise. It brings to completion our meditation. It illustrates what the "depth" of meditation, to which we are called to arrive at, means. Acquiring the sense of history in our "e-age" is most of all letting God's peace be manifested as compassionate seeing of the world. "From the rising of the sun to its setting we praise your name, O Lord; may your promise to raise the poor from the dust and turn the fortunes of the needy upside down be fulfilled in our time also, as it was in your On, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Psalm 115, the second part of the Morning Prayer, does not leave a rest for us. Now, with this call to see through the depth of compassion, the question is repeated. "Why should the nations say, 'Where is now their God'? Where is the Peace now to which we are called?"
I am leaving myself and you with this single, I believe, guiding question, on the threshold of the referendum on Scottish independence. There is a lot to contemplate in ourselves, till our motives in acting at this particular part of history become clear, and till we perceive fuller what the taken for granted words, "the Peace of God", mean.