Tuesday 13 May 2014

Be gentle when you touch bread

Be gentle, when you touch bread,
Let it not be uncared for, unwanted.
So often bread is taken for granted.
There is so much beauty in bread,
Beauty of sun and soil,
Beauty of patient toil.
Winds and rain have caressed it,
Christ often blessed it;
Be gentle when you touch bread.
Be loving when you drink wine,
So freely received and joyfully shared
in the spirit of him who cared;
Warm as a flowing river,
Shining as clear as the sun,
Deep as the soil
Of human toil,
The winds and air caressed it,
Christ often blessed it,
Be loving when you drink wine.
Attributed to David Adam, a former miner and Canon of York Minster.

Sunday 11 May 2014


Spring has sprung. My herb garden looks wild and very healthy. Everything is growing and growing so fast I can almost see it. 

I wish I had time to stop and watch it. 

I have been busy. Not, I'm so self-important and stressed out busy, but wonderfully busy. Like a bee.

That reminds me, since it is still the Easter season, of what took my attention at the Easter Vigil this year. It was the bees. 

The Deacon sings the Exultet at the beginning of the Mass. In the second half of the hymn he presents the Paschal Candle, or Easter Candle, which burns in the Church all through the Easter Season, and through the year on Solemn occasions such as Baptisms. This is what he sings. 

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants' hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.  
But now we know the praises of this pillar, a flame divided but undimmed, which glowing fire ignites for God's honour, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious. 
O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human. 
Therefore, O Lord,we pray you that this candle,hallowed to the honour of your name,may persevere undimmed,to overcome the darkness of this night. Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,and let it mingle with the lights of heaven. May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star:the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Although I have heard the Exultet many times, this year was the first year I have ever paid any attention to the bees. But, here they are in a starring role, honoured for their hard work and dedication in the greatest hymn of praise and thanksgiving the Church has to offer! I thought that was very cool indeed.

I am getting married this summer (*glee and joy*), and recently I was visiting my husband-to-be and his family in Yorkshire. We found a very sleepy bee sitting on the window sill. Honey was fetched and the little chap took his fill, then he was gently carried to the back door and laid down outside. It was dark and chilly, and we all waited to see what he would do. After a few moments of recollection he took off high into the air, straight up! Then, after hovering for a few seconds he flew off, hopefully to home. Maybe, when he got back, he did a special dance that said, go up the hill to that house fake a sleep and you get fed honey. Soon there will be a steady stream of bees snoozing on the windowsill. 

Bees are so little, but we cannot live without them. They dance around, barely noticed by us, but without them we would have no food, no flowers, no candles. The things of heaven are wed to those of earth, so it is an easy jump, in my thought anyway, to go from bees to the little things I cannot live without, things no one else might notice: a hug, a touch, an 'I love you'; a 'thank you', a phone call, a message, a letter; time with family, time with friends, a meal shared together. Such are the things I thought about when the Deacon sang about the honey bee at Easter. Such are the things I am still thinking about now.