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Entries in christian writing (5)

Friday
Nov292013

Book Review - Take This Bread, by Sara Miles

Just finished reading this beautiful autobiography and confession of faith by Sara Miles. This is one of the best books I've read in the last few years. It's delightful, brutally honest, profane, earthy, profound, sacred, joyous and confused in equal measures.

The author was raised an atheist, is a lesbian and mother of a daughter, who strolled into a church in San Francisco one day for no particular reason, took the eucharist, was transformed on the spot and spent the next years trying to work out what had happened - in both senses of the words "working out."

While doing that, she took her lifelong interest in food, both for its own sake and as a means of making community in poor zones and war zones, and established a hugely successful food program for the urban poor of San Francisco, understanding the feeding of the people as being the reality behind the sacred meal as it is celebrated in the Christian church.

There are some fabulous descriptions of what happens when the "wrong" people start to turn up at church - the hungry, the homeless, the crazy, the addicted, the cantankerous, the lazy, the greedy and the sick. And of course, fighting the "right" people along the way and learning that grace extends to everyone, however unloveable and on whichever side of the spectrum they are.

If any book is likely to get me to understand holy communion as being most certainly not the property of the churches, this is it. Let's get the communion service back out of church and back among the people.

You can find it here.

 

 

Friday
Nov302012

Emmaus, by Adrian G R Scott

This is a beautiful poem about companionship by my friend Adrian Scott from his collection The Call of the Unwritten (see the Books Worth Reading section of this website).

Emmaus

Take a long unhurried walk
with a willing other,

keep a measured silence as your four
feet trudge the miles,

honour the sparse and common space
that shrewdly shapes between you,

narrate in quietness the chronicle of your living
with all its broken light,

do not spare the brittle self in your
honestly forming story,

nor judge the wounded self that wants
to nestle in your arms,

or any of the legion selves that emerge
as you summon them,

be gentle with your broken hopes
and kind to your successes,

with respect hear the restive steps
of this re-collecting journey,

recognize the natural, animate around you
life echoing your own,

then breach the generosity of solitude
with a welcome to the wanderer,

take turns in pathway sharing, break
out your spoken story,

be heedful as a deep-barked forest
to every breaking twig,

frame each exposure with the
intentness of a lens,

stop and face each other with a
bold unwavering gaze,

see the walking miles reflected
in the pupil of the other,

and by embracing what remains, you
will have reached Emmaus.