I have had the most remarkable year being a deacon. I wrote these four sonnets to try and express some of how it’s been, they originally formed some of my portfolio this year. They are based on the metaphor of water.
Sonnet 1 – Water Flows
‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow streams of living water’ (John 7:38)
‘Deacons are to search out… reaching into the forgotten corners of the world’
‘Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord’
To test, to find, to journey ever on,
water seeping winding way through rock,
in old cut rifts, new notes of ageless song,
so search you out those places we forgot.
With what has shone, enlighten waiting eyes.
With what has fed, call out to hungry now.
When all is dust, reveal what lies behind,
bring Spirit-sodden hope to waiting ground.
For poor and weak, for grip of precious pain,
in dried up earth awaiting clouds above.
In these abandoned places whisper rain,
and wash a world already soaked in love.
Then go, in peace, to love and serve and know –
from our own heart does holy water flow.
Sonnet 2 – Water Cleanses and Refreshes
‘Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow’ (Ps 51:7)
‘that the love of God might be made visible’
‘Let us confess our sins, in penitence and faith’
Now wash away pain, wash sorrow, bathe fear,
now gather us in to wonder and rest,
now cast off our chains and dwell with us here
where shame is unbound and misery blessed.
Scour us with water, purge, strip back to bone,
comfort, caress, wash souls and wash feet
dissolve that which wars, let love find a home,
where old worlds converge, and fresh pain finds peace.
In freshness upwelling, new life does spring,
in that which was lost, redemption is found,
wisdom rejoice, creativity sing,
droplets of dew dance on holiest ground.
We all shall be clean, washed whiter than snow,
glistening earth where green shoots can now grow.
Sonnet 3 – Water Returns
‘All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow’ (Ecc. 1:7)
‘They are to service the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people’
‘Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ’
Trickle out stream, crashing waves run their course,
time pulling slowly, a rushing on, soon
that which has blossomed returns to its source,
crashing, convulsing, refilling Her womb.
Many are lonely and feel themselves lost,
worried the world has long cast them aside,
left dripping in pain and counting the cost,
wondering how to catch up with the tide.
So, gather up joys and scatter out cares,
bring in your harvest of worry and need.
Leave to the threshing floor wheat and the tares,
slump in the safety, the darkness – and bleed.
The world may expire, drain, stretch out and pull,
but streams flow to sea which never flows full.
Sonnet 4 – Water Overwhelms
‘Deep calls to deep in the thunder of your waterfalls, all your breakers and waves have gone over me’ (Ps 42:7 (Common worship translation)
‘They are to be faithful… expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence’
‘By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity’
Rolling, revolving, with tiptoeing breath,
fragments of chance on the edges of time.
In ordinary things mix life and mix death,
in mystery, swirling, in water and wine.
To things which are speechless, things with no name,
things which exist on the edge of a proof,
things which are caught in the light of a flame,
things which crash reason and wonder and truth.
Expect in the darkness, glimmer of hope,
in breakers of fear a cry of good news,
an anchor, a port, a promise of rope,
in body, in bread; a crackle, a fuse.
Out in the waterfall deep calls to deep,
where your flesh meets mine to drink and to weep.