Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is here - is Christ in it?

I think that it is highly appropriate that as we come close to Christmas and the end of  another year, we consider the real meaning of this time of year.  What really is the birth of Christ in our lives?  Do we celebrate it in our churches without really understanding its meaning?  The Greek words "Efkaristo", "Eucaristia", "Eucaristew" and "Eucaristos" all mean the same thing - "to give thanks" - and every time we celebrate the Eucharist it is a personal and communal offering of thanksgiving to Our Lord.  This should be the real meaning of Christmas.  And it can continue to happen to us every day or every week if we receive the Eucharist at mass.  

The idea of attending mass - I prefer to call it the celebration of the Eucharist - is to raise our hearts to the Lord in thanksgiving for all He has done in us, with us and through us up to that moment. The sharing God's Word with others is a prime example of this thanksgiving as much as moments of prayer and fellowship are too.
In these last few days leading to Christmas my prayer is that we do not get totally and absolutely distracted to such an extent that the moment of intimacy that the Lord wants to share with us at this special time of the year is stifled and choked. But rather, that we consciously slow down and find distinct moments of reflection in which to allow Him to meet us and speak to us in the depths of our hearts. It would be such a pity if another Christmas had to go by with our focus being solely on the mince pies and the presents and nothing more than that.
The Lord really wants to meet us today and have communion with us. Let us make space for Him in the inn of our heart for Him to be born. Let us make a conscious effort to remove the clutter and panic and to vacate the inn where He wishes to be born.  Efkaristos! 
May He bring joy and peace to your life that only He can bring.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sometimes...more than words

Last week David Knopfler was giving a concert here. With his brother guitarist Mark, David was the now defunct Dire Straits, superstars of rock of the Eighties.  Their music was a mixture of upbeat rocking melodies and soft ballads, all sung in a Southern accent.  Now David is appearing solo worldwide and offers a completely different kind of music, often reminding me of early Bob Dylan complete with harmonica. 

But what impressed me was the quality of his lyrics, songs he self penned, often also writing the music...but with a deep feeling for the spirituality in his life.  The transition from Dire Straits to solo artist is amply reflected in "Easy Street", where he sings about the Devil coming to see him offering wealth and fame if he only signed on  then dotted line.  Everything will come for free. "Only ten commandments stand between you and the final call" he sings. "It's easier than you might think to break them one and all.  The devil spoke to me and said 'Ape that band you was in before Boy and you could be on Easy Street!'"

How true to form for the Devil. But it seems he realises this and sings "Looking back, back to front, front to back again...Hypnotised by your stunning lies, perhaps I'm better off without you in the end."  (from "America")   Nonetheless, it seems he resisted this temptation, for his music is anything but Dire Straits.  On another song ("Ship of dreams") he clearly underlines that now he sings because "some need a song of love when old friends feel like ghosts; for some the sweet redemption songs the thing they crave the most on then ship of dreams....Each pilgrim makes their journey, each must meet their fate."

With David's kind of music-cum-message, "sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  When everybody talks too loud no one listens anyhow...... Sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  You find the one you've hurt worst is the one you need to heal you.  Sure", he sings, "I know forgiveness may be mortal not divine but all them human frailties they'll stall me every time..... Sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  We both know something's wrong here like we know a sinner sins. But I'm so tired now, got to get some sleep somehow. Feels like the whole damn world is crying and I can't keep the beat."  (from"Sometimes there are no words")

Hope clearly abounds in his music.  "I'm mending my nets....theres been more thaqnn time enough for penance and regret.  She says "Bless me David for I'ver sinned" lest we should forget.  I said 'It's alright if you're crying, I don't mind getting wet.  I hate whoever made you cry but I don't mind getting wet. I beleive we can mend those nets. We'll bind your womb with herb-o-grace, nullify all debts. [Cos] When fishermen cant put to sea it's time we mend out nets."  (from "Mending my nets")

And clearly he puts his hope in the One Who Matters because "in the symmetry of the stars God plays to a higher purpose..... God paints on a giant canvas. Some see majestic clockwork, some see chaos as they would, for some the infinite reach of meaning and absolute good.  Someone's there to see you, to touch you with their smile.  The waters are wide across this Great Divide..."   (from "Symmetry of the stars")

Plenty food for thought from this prolific singer-songwriter.   And, to give credit where credit is due, all the above quotes are from songs composed and written by David Knopfler although, in some cases, with the help of others (Megan Slankard on "Ship of dreams", Harry Bogdanov on "Easy Street" and Mack Starks on "America").

 And to enjoy a bit of David's Ship of Dreams...

The Last Word?

Make yourself at home here, come back and read some of the older cappuccino posts too, relax, reflect.... and comment if you wish....there's a comment button at the end of each post!
I hope to see you again in a few days time. Enjoy.