at the Midday Eucharist
March 29th, 2017
+ In the name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful. Amen.
Today is a momentous day in the life of our nation and it would be wrong to ignore what is happening, possibly even as we celebrate this Eucharist. For our Prime Minister is to send a letter to the European Commission to announce that we wish to withdraw from the Union.
It is a day when we are divorcing from a relationship that has lasted 44 years. For some this is the ending of a marriage made in heaven; for others it is the opposite. Some will lament the death of a dream – of the hope for a more united world. Others see this as the dawn of a new age when we take back control of our laws and borders. And there are those who see this as a second Reformation – in the first we separated from Rome; in this from Brussels. It certainly heralds a paradigm shift:
‘As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—‘
So wrote T.S.Eliot in his poem, ‘East Coker’. And he prefixed those words by saying: ‘I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God.’
Whatever the outcome of this movement we hold to Christ who is our hope. Whose life-giving Passion, Death and Resurrection we proclaim as we celebrate this Eucharist. Of Him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. For we are all one in Him.
Perhaps, in a way, we are entering upon our own Holy Saturday, that time of waiting as the old order passes away, yet we know not the new which is to come.
Later on in ‘East Coker’ Eliot wrote these words which emerged from his own Christian faith: “I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”