There is a fire that warms and energises without destroying, that burns within us without consuming us, that keeps us alive and joyful in the deepest coldness of winter night…
It is this endless summer we celebrate now in mid-winter, at Christmas. If we forget that and grow cold again soon after, have we fully understood that the child in the manger is also the man who came to set fire to the Earth, to enable the fire of Pentecost to keep us warm forever?
Christendom – that long alignment of the church with the coercive power of the state – may be dying, but why should this be true of Christianity itself, of that love of Jesus for all of us – a love that prevailed without coercion and founded the church in the beginning?
Why should we fear that secularism – or any other ‘ism’ – has defeated the Gospel when secular optimism is in even deeper crisis than the church? With democracy under challenge, with global inequality at an historic peak, and with the human environment under threat as never before, secularism is unable to explain why liberty, equality and fraternity are even more elusive now for so many than when this slogan was was first adopted in the 1700s. No one then foresaw the current crisis of the world – itself largely a result of human effort, science and ingenuity. There was a huge overestimation then of the potential of reason, divorced from faith.
We in ACI believe the fire of God’s love for all of us is the greatest of all constants, and will burn more fiercely when it is not hidden by the ashes of a clericalist church system that still imitates too many of the injustices of Christendom. We seek a vital culture of dialogue in the Irish church – based upon our common Baptism – and share the confidence of Pope Francis in the power of God – and of synodality – to make everything new. We believe that the ‘Synodal Pathway‘ announced for the Irish Church in 2021 – and already bearing fruit in Ireland’s national synodal synthesis – can be the turning point that all are hoping for.
To all people of good will, and especially to those who seek a truth that can save the Earth, we wish the same conviction that has kept the church alive for these many centuries, and the warmth of Christmas faith throughout the coming year.
“There is a fire that warms and energises without destroying, that burns within us without consuming us, that keeps us alive and joyful in the deepest coldness of winter night”
‘What is needed more than anything is for the fire of Christ’s love to spread (Be known) everywhere, by everyone. “He will then make such disciples to be like Himself, so that they might share Him and the fire of His love with a world grown cold”
Humility is the key but will we bend our knee
The Truth is a burning fire it looks not at man’s desire..
Popes cower before it denuding power
Bishops it mocks Priests defrock
Leaders stand in disarray it’s all relative they say
But honest it is not integrity is the loss
The denial of goodness to make it dark is to lose ones heart.
To look into the living flame is to know one’s shame
To bend one’s knee is to be set free
The spark to become a flame in every mortal frame.
We are to become as lamps
We look within and acknowledge our own sin
We bow our heads as by the Master we are led
With cleansing grace we start to see His face
The air becomes clear as we relinquish fear
Love and clarity of thought
Is what our suffering will have bought
As we stand by His side His Peace the gift of The Holy Spirit, will reside
We no longer struggle alone as The Master leads us
Before the break of the new day
Our lamps will light the way.
‘Father’! With tongue and flame, give us unity again
kevin your brother
Attempt at a Hymn for Christian Unity: ‘Christians of every land’
Christians of every land
Come together to make our stand
We sense a new beginning a new era has begun
Praise the Father, Spirit and Son
Father, send your Spirit to restore
Breaking down each self-made door
As we aspire to dress in one attire
With tongue and flame give us unity again
The dawn may break are we awake
Thirty pieces lay on the temple floor
As each hide behind his, own special door
Satan’s hour to divide and devour
Light your lamp and make your way
Into the garden to watch and pray
A cup of cold water is enough to set you free
Come brother make your stand with me
Jesus is our lamp humility His stamp
Honest and true is His creed
We His holy seed
When we scatter fly and weed
All true lovers know there is only one way
It lies deep in the heart as we watch and pray
Truth and justice must have their say
We cannot be divided as we wait for day
Christians from every age
Have waited with prayerful praise
The third watch has come
Shall we be the ones to greet your Son?
Living water flows from a truthful heart
Come let’s make a fresh start
Displaying old and new
Let’s see what the third watch can do
kevin your brother
The ‘third watch’ – the Millennium just begun? I just LOVE that! And the starting sentiment – well in tune with what Richard Rohr calls ‘the emerging church’ – born of dissatisfaction with the wineskins that fractured us.
Thank you for your comment Sean, you instinctively homed in on when it was written which was in the year 2000 the beginning of the third Millennium.
kevin your brother
‘Third watch’ is a perfect metaphor for all Advents and Lents these times, Kevin. It telescopes all human history before Jesus’s return into a night watch, as advised by Jesus’s own references to lamp-lighting to prepare for the unknown hour of the bridegroom’s return. It also implies the absence of the bridegroom during the millennia of ‘Christendom’ – and that satisfies me also. We are not meant to know the day or the hour, and too many injustices now abound for us to feel ready…!
Was it that reference to lamp-lighting in the Gospel that led you to think of a ‘third watch’??
A very good integrated reflection Sean.
Yes, many injustices abound – but we can be readied in our own hearts if we walk with the Holy Spirit in humility – as a humble heart is His known dwelling place – while encouraging others to do the same. You know my feelings on this matter in relation to the True DM Image – one of Broken Man – which from my uneducated understanding has the potential to draw the Church into a new dawn – as in the manifestation of a truly humble church/people before God and the world.
As when the Truth is embraced honestly, it will induce humility within the heart. A Truthful heart will never cover its tracks (Past) or hide from its shortcomings. This confers authenticity, as it walks in its own vulnerability / weakness / brokenness in trust/faith before God and mankind. It is a heart to be trusted, as it ‘dispels’ darkness within its own self/ego, in serving God (Truth) first, before any other.
If we walk His ‘Way’ we will eventually accept ourselves and then each other in wholeheartedness, while we are led along the path/Way of spiritual enlightenment, the ongoing transformation of the human heart, a moist heart, a gentle tearful one, one of compassion, where eventually it is not possible to judge another individual harshly, for to do so would be to judge/condemn one’s self.
Rather in our humility we would want for all our brothers and sisters no matter what their state of being, that which we have been given ourselves, His known gift of Divine Mercy, which can only be known/accepted in a humble/vulnerable heart, before Him.
“Learn from me I am meek and lowly of heart” and you shall find rest to your souls”
Or put another way, learn from His vulnerability, while in humble ‘simplicity’ we are being emptied (Set free) of the selfhood; we will then eventually find (the lost coin, a dew drop, a mustard seed, pearl) His gift of joy/peace / the Holy Spirit, the spiritual ‘treasure’, dwelling/adorning our own heart/soul.
I am unsure of the origins of ‘Third Watch’ within my thinking, Sean, as I wrote the attempted Hymn as we entered into the ‘Third Millennium’ in the year 2000 AD. Hopefully it was inspired by the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
kevin your brother
THE HEART OF THE CHRISTMAS STORY
Brightest of star in the darkest of night
The Spirit of God revealing His light
Innocence lay on bed of hay
Is this what his gentle eyes do say?
All wise men play their part,
When searching for His light within the dark
Gold Frankincense and myrrh
Within the righteous heart do stir
Truth is love this must be understood
No manmade decree
It is the action of Truth that sets mankind free
Deception and deceit are trod upon
By His holy feet
Humble of heart, placid moon, twinkling star
All mankind shall know who you are
May the light of the new-born Jesus
Dwell in our hearts
May its radiance embellish its self within us
And the gift of His joy (Holy Spirit) be ours
This Christmas time and always
kevin your brother