Lavish Love

Julia Stankova The Anointing of Christ

Julia Stankova, The Anointing of Christ

It was lavish love

luscious and lavish

and I still don’t know what made me do it.


I wanted to show my love for this man

and words failed me

for words could never express how I felt.

Words would never be enough

so I had to make this act of lavish love.


And quickly the aroma of spices

filled the air in that darkened room

rising from my hands and his feet

until everyone was breathing deeply

of that precious ointment,

inhaling its exotic scent.


Somehow I knew we wouldn’t have him with us

much longer.

I knew that he was going to leave us

like orphans in the dark

and I sensed that death was in the air

I wanted to take away that premonition of the end

to fight it with all my might

to smother it with anointing oil.


My tears mingled with the ointment

when I heard their raised voices

but when he put his hand on my head

they fell all the more

for I knew he understood.



Which tree?

Frida Stenmark, Skog

Frida Stenmark, Skog

Which tree will they choose?

Which tree will you choose?

If you had to choose

one tree

which tree would it be?


One tree from a forest

one tree, straight and true

but it has to be

strong enough

to hold a man.


One tree

to saw it down

and hack it into planks

and plant it back again

in a misshapen version of a tree.


One tree

on which to hang

a man

with nails or cords

and a sign

which says he is a king.


You have to choose

one tree

one tree

to buy the price of our sins.


Which tree will it be?


What kind of world is this?

Eric Gill Christ and the Money-Changers 1919

Eric Gill, Christ and the Money-Changers (1919)

What kind of world is this?

When the one

who talks to us of peace

and blessed the meek

brings a whip instead

and loses his temper?


What kind of world is this?

When the one

who held children

and healed the unloved

shouts and rants

and chases people away?


What kind of world is this?

Our world

This world

where hungry are unfed

and migrants risk their lives

for scraps from our overflowing table.


Our world

where the rich get richer

and the poor get poorer

and nobody seems to notice

that this is not how it should be.


Our world

where none of us have the courage

to do something bold

to shout and scream

at the injustice of it all.


Albrecht Durer Hands

Albrecht Durer, Hands

Today I offer my hands

to God


Blessed be the work of these hands.

Blessed be the hands that have held pain

and have soothed hurt with compassion.

Blessed be the hands that have cared for others

and touched the lonely with love.


Blessed be these hands that have served in the past

and continue to hold the promise of the future.

Blessed be these hands that have warmly welcomed strangers

at our doors.


Blessed be these hands that have clapped in affirmation and praise of others.

Blessed be these hands that have held mummy’s and brought hope for our future.

Blessed be these hands that have made sticky, messy, glittery creations that tell of the love of God.


Blessed be these hands that have prayed for others,

known and unknown.

Blessed be these hands that have served in worship

at the altar,

at the door,

at the lectern,

in the choir and at the organ.


Blessed be my hands

ready to do your will



JAMES Guthrie A Highland funeral
painting Guthrie, Sir James (1859 – 1930, Scottish) Scotland, Highlands (place associated) 1882 oil on canvas unframed dimensions: 1295 x 1930 mm; framed: 1762 x 2398 x 60 mm Painting entitled ‘A Highland funeral’, by Sir James Guthrie, 1882 1060

It was nearly dark when we gathered

wintry grey skies

snow on the ground

freezing our feet

through worn out boots


We took off our caps

and bowed our heads

as the minister spoke the Benediction

sending him to his Maker.


Too young to die

this child of Mary and Joe

too young

when they had such hopes for him.


We hear her keening in the house

a high-pitched sound

of grief from her guts

and we look away

at anything

at the snow on the ground

at the minister

at the wee coffin on the two chairs

we look at anything

but that window

in case we see her face there.


Too young to die

this child

We’ve seen it before

of course

but we all saw the potential in this one.

That’s what breaks our hearts.


Rockwell Kent Meditation

Rockwell Kent, Meditation (1929) © Plattsburgh State Art Museum, State University of New York, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection

I stand alone

I look to you

My prayer is simple…

Give me strength


Lord, hear my prayer.


I go to church

I try to do the right thing

to say the right thing

to be what you want me to be

and although I do it with my whole heart

I never seem to get it right.


I feel as if I am straddling

two worlds

and never succeeding in either.


Oh Lord, my love,

you stride through my life

pulling me with you

until it feels as if I just can’t keep up

I try to pull my hand away

to fall back to my old ways

because it is easier.


Lord, hear my prayer.

Give me strength

Keep my hand in yours

and help me hold on to you.