“Some things are too great to come at directly. Just as we may weave back and forth as we climb a hill, and appear to be going round in circles, yet all the while are coming closer to the summit, so in our religious and spiritual life things may seem circuitous; we may think we have come back to the same spot, but always, if we press on, it is a little higher, a little closer to the truth.”
The Anointing At Bethany
by Malcolm Guite
Come close with Mary, Martha , Lazarus
So close the candles stir with their soft breath
And kindle heart and soul to flame within us
Lit by these mysteries of life and death.
For beauty now begins the final movement
In quietness and intimate encounter
The alabaster jar of precious ointment
Is broken open for the world’s true lover,
The whole room richly fills to feast the senses
With all the yearning such a fragrance brings,
The heart is mourning but the spirit dances,
Here at the very centre of all things,
Here at the meeting place of love and loss
We all foresee, and see beyond the cross.
A friend asked me recently, “Do any of us really see what is going on in another person’s life?” It was in reference to an unimaginable tragedy, the death of a beloved spouse. My answer was yes we do. Its what death brings, a spotlight into the reality of our friends and families lives. There’s no hiding in death for the grieving. Grief is a public, communal act. An act of giving to each other the gift of remembrance, support, and sharing of sadness. But that spotlight doesn’t last very long before the community moves on, because it must move on, beyond the place of just love and loss, and back to the place of love and life, to see beyond the cross.
Malcolm Guite is one of those big minds whose energy comes through his poetry, his oratory, his intention. He is a fellow lover of sonnets. The video below is an example of his clever wisdom and a good reminder on the power of words.