Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Midweek Musing: treasure the moments of mystery

This past Sunday, I was back presiding at gathered worship with my friends at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. What a joy. I haven't been saying yes to many 'gigs' this year, as I concentrate on the thesis, but with the Lenten liturgy from Fiona, and the words I've already crafted for Pray the Story, the energy for preparation was well within manageable limits – and donning the alb and leading a community in worship is that delightful complex of energy-giving, and exhausting (in a good way).

The reflection was shaped by the prayer-poem for the week, posted the previous Sunday on Pray the Story. That will be our midweek musing. Fiona has included a time for meditation: I spoke the prayer-poem for the epistle portion, which I wrote last year: Gift of Faith. And in our communion liturgy, we spoke the words of the Jesus Prayer (or Lord's Prayer) that I had crafted, also last year.

The Gospel story for the day was Jesus' encounter with a woman by a well in Samaria. We reflected on that story thus:




beside Jacob’s well 
John 4:5–42
By the well of Jacob,
Jesus met a woman;
by the well of Jacob,
on foreign, enemy land.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus asked the woman:
from the well of Jacob
to draw him, please, a drink.

By the well of Jacob
the woman asked him, Why,
by the well of Jacob
he came, he stopped, he spoke?

By the well of Jacob
Jesus told her of water
that neither the well of Jacob,
nor any other well could supply.

By the well of Jacob,
her thirst fast awakened
by the well of Jesus,
holy mystery of life.

To the well of Jacob
she summoned her neighbours – friends;
where, at the well of Jacob,
once she had been alone.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus’ friends now returned;
by the well of Jacob, you’re
doing what? They were bemused.

By the well of Jacob,
they offered him food to eat;
at the well of Life I eat,
by living the Way of Love.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus met a woman;
by the well of Jacob,
on foreign, enemy land.


Show us how to live is the theme for your season of Lent here at Augustine United
Show us how to live, the request we make of God, Creator of that life, Wisdom guide and Spirit friend.
Show us how to live.

In this story of Jesus’ encounter of a woman beside a well in the heat of the day – or of a woman’s encounter with Jesus in the heat of the day – we have some responses to that request.

Life is crossing borders and boundaries into ‘foreign’ territory and assuming a posture of humility – may I have a drink? Where might you do that this week?

Life is responding to the stranger – perhaps in her question we can see a wariness on the part of the woman, life is not about exposing ourselves to undo risk of harm. So responding to the stranger, with a cautious welcome perhaps. Who are the strangers we will meet this week?

Life is watered by a Source not earthly but permeating all that lives; Life is tapping into that well, that depth, that Source, and quenching our thirst with relief unknown from any other water. What are our daily practices for drawing on that well, that Source? What does our daily trek to the well look like? Lent is a fabulous season to review our spiritual disciplines, perhaps try something new for a season to give it a go, renewing our commitment to the regular trip to the well, the Source, of the Living Water that quenches our thirst.

Life is in the stories: stories of ancestors that tell us where we came from; stories of our encounters and discoveries that enrich our present living with new vigour and meaning; stories of the Sacred to give us hope for the future. What stories will we listen for this week? To whom might we tell our story in a gift of mutual vulnerability? How will we enter the story of the Sacred each day?

Life is full of mystery, so much beyond the reach of our understanding, so much to reach for, strive for, look towards. When you encounter the mystery this week, will you stumble, will you stop, will you stand in awe and wonder and be grateful?

Life – so says this story of mystery and Living water, of strangers and crossing borders – is about taking each moment and paying attention. It’s about being present with those you meet in the moment. It’s about attending to the Sacred Presence in each moment. It’s about listening with open hearts, sharing with generous hearts, pausing with grateful hearts.

Life is made up of moments: take them, treasure them, and see what life will grow from them.


By the well of Jacob,
Jesus met a woman;
by the well of Jacob,
on foreign, enemy land.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus asked the woman:
from the well of Jacob
to draw him, please, a drink.

By the well of Jacob
the woman asked him, Why,
by the well of Jacob
he came, he stopped, he spoke?

By the well of Jacob
Jesus told her of water
that neither the well of Jacob,
nor any other well could supply.

By the well of Jacob,
her thirst fast awakened
by the well of Jesus,
holy mystery of life.

To the well of Jacob
she summoned her neighbours – friends;
where, at the well of Jacob,
once she had been alone.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus’ friends now returned;
by the well of Jacob, you’re
doing what? They were bemused.

By the well of Jacob,
they offered him food to eat;
at the well of Life I eat,
by living the Way of Love.

By the well of Jacob,
Jesus met a woman;
by the well of Jacob,
on foreign, enemy land.

Amen

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