More or less, a re-blog, but an apt one.
A contribution to the debate as to the ultimate salvation of the
Laurence Whistler created an engraved pane for
Moreton Church, Dorset, UK, in addition to other replacements
for glass destroyed in wartime.
It was rejected and was stored at Dorchester Museum for years,
until after Whistler’s death. Now it is in position, in spite of its
Whistler himself had written to The Independent in 1994, from Watlington
in Oxfordshire, after experiencing the rejection of his offer of this 13th pane.
It would only have been visible from the exterior of the church. It showed
Judas being pulled into Heaven by the rope around his neck. Some people
are as resistant as that to salvation, I suppose. Anyway, he commented
that three minutes of agonising strangulation was not to be compared to
the extended suffering of crucifixion.
THE FORGIVENESS WINDOW
This was to have been a thirteenth blind pane,
seen only from the outside of the church:
replacement for its bombshell-slivered glass.
Judas, the betrayer, hangs from a tree.
His grasp relaxes and thirty pieces
of silver metamorphose into a
Discernment can come from outside the Church.
Inside some, coin-lidded, opt for cataracts.
Most see through glass darkly; few face to face.
There are several images of the pane which you can access
through Google etc. Until I visit again and take my own photo,
I cannot reproduce them as they have copyright on them.
Wealth – satisfaction
of all our needs and desires?
But, if your wishes
go beyond your wherewithal,
you are a pauper
and a slave to your own lusts.
Saint Paul said that godliness
with contentment is great gain.
To have control over self
is the one true aim;
is a lifetime’s endeavour.
It will bring great peace.
With acceptance of one’s lot
comes tranquillity of soul.
Paul was in the agora (market-place)
and saw the altar to The Unknown God.
Unimpressed by ineffability,
he was moved to make a proclamation.
Being keen on words and declaration,
he spelled out the Creator’s qualities.
A skilled orator, he had qualities
respected by debaters in that place.
Converts were won by his declaration.
Diogenes submitted to Paul’s God
and was made Bishop by proclamation:
an agent for Ineffability.
Could God retain ineffability
and yet reveal immanent qualities?
His Son, some say, was the Proclamation-
the One prepared to come down to this place,
to manifest the true nature of God
the Father – a fleshly declaration.
Not speculation, but declaration
Paul introduced the Personhood of God
and defined the Almighty’s qualities.
Stoics, Epicureans in that place
felt the power of his proclamation.
The gods had made their own proclamation
on that very site and a declaration
of guilt had been conferred in that same place,
for crimes besmirch ineffability:
Halirrhothius judged for qualities
inconsistent with the ways of a god.
On that steep Hill of Mars, who was the god
of War, Paul made a love proclamation.
He swept away the fickle qualities
of their deities. His declaration
was that Divine Ineffability
condescended to one time and one place.
Paul’s proclamation; God’s declaration:
of qualities, so we transcend our place.
(Photo: Ballista: Wikipaedia)
Great Coxwell’s Barn
Off Hollow Way stands this vast, vacant barn:
huge receptacle for Cistercian tithes,
garnered from tenant farmers – a dry store,
where the granger checked accounts; did not trust
his hired servants. Here Cotswold riches
were protected from thieves and from decay.
Christ had warned disciples about decay
and storing up of surplus in a barn.
Christians were always meant to share riches
and not to extract profit from fat tithes.
The parable’s ‘fool’ was he whose whole trust
was in possessions. He had wrath in store.
Henry VIII would plunder a marked store
and most abbeys were subject to decay.
Monastic wealth was held in deep distrust.
Though Morris praised this cathedral-like barn,
Pre-Raphaelites would not restore tithes;
they venerated aesthetic riches.
We coveted colonial riches
and viewed the whole world as potential store,
compelling other countries to pay tithes;
forgetting moth and rust would cause decay.
What were the treasures we stored in our barn?
We’ll reap what we sowed: we abused faith, trust.
Joseph, in whom Pharoah had put his trust,
managed underground silos of riches
and, when his brothers came – not to a barn-
but to the pits where corn was kept in store,
did they recall they’d left him to decay
in such a space? (He who asked no tithes.)
This massive hulk, once packed with peasant tithes,
now supported by The National Trust,
mouldered with neglect; died of decay,
until ‘heritage’ was seen as riches.
What are the values we would like to store?
Should we maintain the past? Convert the barn?
Some build barns with their family riches,
but tithes benefited community,
as long as mutual trust did not decay.
(Cranach the Elder: Uffizi- Adam and Eve)
In the hortus clausus of Paradise,
Adam and Eve were naked, without shame;
partook of luscious fruits’ delectation
and yet, both were subject to temptation
and yielded. God then issued His calm denunciation:
expelled, they entered a marred Creation.
They wanted to be lords of Creation;
were not content to live in Paradise.
Adam, quick in his denunciation
of his wife and, both wearing leaves of shame,
blamed the wily serpent for temptation.
Forbidden knowledge was delectation.
And, oh the price of that delectation:
to have usurped the Lord of Creation!
Over-weening hearts, prey to temptation,
caused them to exchange Earthly Paradise
for lives of labour, childbirth pain and shame
and inter-gender denunciation.
Lest we jump to denunciation
of the Almighty, His delectation
in His creatures was His aim. Death and shame
were never endgames in His Creation.
But how could there be sin in Paradise?
Free will left them open to temptation.
Yes, automata feel no temptation:
adoration, or denunciation
of God both possible in Paradise.
Disobedience was their delectation;
they wanted to be Lords of Creation,
yet, till their eyes were opened, felt no shame.
Do we repeat the arrogance and shame
in excusing ourselves our temptation?
Have we now lost Free Will? Does Creation
struggle under God’s denunciation?
There was One, Who said His delectation
was to obey and He left Paradise.
We, His new creation; delectation!
Conquering shame, temptation, He opened,
Paradise; cancelled denunciation.
(Samson Fighting the Lion: Lucas Cranach
the Elder ; Weimarer Stadtschloss;
Accession No G12)
Manoah wept: he had no son.
An angel told his wife:
You will conceive a son and give
him up to God for life.
This angel came again and he
had piercing azure eyes.
Manoah, liking what he said,
offered to sacrifice
a kid to God and, in the smoke,
the spirit heavenwards
ascended, while the man and wife
pondered on his words.
Samson grew in stature tall;
a razor did not trim
his hair, as he was set aside:
the role of Judge, for him.
A daughter of his enemies
came to his notice, so,
in spite of what his father said,
to Timnath he would go.
Meeting a lion would not prevent
his marriage to a stranger.
He tore the animal apart
(its threat to him no danger.)
And, when he passed the carcase next,
bees had filled its middle.
Scooping out honey, he laughed aloud:
Aha! I have a riddle!
Thirty young men attended the feast.
What is strong, but also sweet?
He bet they’d never work it out,
but Samson’s wife was not discreet.
The answer, pressured out of her,
Samson lost the forfeit,
but he went down to Ashkelon
and found a way to cheat:
he offered the thirty all the fruits
he’d pillaged, far and wide.
Father-in-law was unimpressed
and gave away the bride.
Please let me sleep with her, Sam cried,
but ‘father-in-law’ rejected
his overtures and offered up
Raging, Samson stormed to the fields,
fiery foxes tying
by their tails, igniting corn,
until the crops were dying.
The Philistines burned Samson’s ‘wife’
He took the jawbone of an ass;
displayed his indignation.
Twenty years passed and he
the role of Judge enacted,
but, like a moth to candle flames,
was fatally attracted
to a harlot (spied upon) –
a honey trap, or bait.
Gazites lay in wait for him.
He made off with the gate
and posts, which held the city wall.
He carried them to Hebron.
Enough of whores: he fell in love,
exhibiting his brawn,
but not his brain. Delilah (bribed)
to find his secret strength,
determined, showing greed and pique,
to go to any length
until he was unwise and told
how he eschewed a razor.
And, when his hair was shorn away,
his weakness did amaze her.
The Spirit of the Lord had left
and Samson, unaware,
had eyes gouged out; was bound with chains
now that he’d lost his hair.
A trophy, he would grind the corn,
till Dagon’s feast came round
and then, for sport, they hauled him out-
still bloodied, beaten, bound.
Two pillars served as a support,
to lean against the stone,
but hair had grown; his strength returned –
he gave a mighty groan.
O let me die with Philistines,
he prayed. Thy will be done.
He brought the house down literally
and killed them – every one.
They buried him beside Manoah.
A Deliverer he’d become,
achieving more in death than life,
foreshadowing God’s son.