A phone call late last night came informing me that a house down the road was experiencing nocturnal bumps and, in fact, one very odd sounding occurence. Now, the Diocese has experts to deal with this sort of event because such things are rarely as straightforward as they seem. Of course, there is the supernatural world, and sometimes it can be as close as the other side of a lace curtain and like all lace is liable to the occasional rippage. As Christians we believe in God, Heaven and Hell, the holy souls in Purgatory and with this comes the force of evil and self worth called the Devil in our language. Evil is a force to be reckoned with and can be seen at work in war, genocide, murder, jealousy and anger from the home to the killing fields of Rwanda and the blight of the land in Zimbabwe, just in varying degrees. So it is for this that the Church sets great store by the saying of prayers and the lustration of walls with holy water, inviting the Lord into a place of dis-ease and praying to the Holy Spirit to still the minds of the faithful, both livng and departed. Sometimes it goes further, of course, but the best thing for us all is to pray, pray for peace, pray for light and pray for calm, three enemies of the force of evil.
Anyway, as I lay down in bed last night, facing a restless night, the words of William Blake's 'Price of Experience' came into my head and, before I knew it, it is morning, I am preparing to go to the chaplaincy at hospital to undertake my usual thursday employment and it is my Mother's birthday! Happy Birthday!
Now, it is time for a penguin bar and then off to get my tram. Pray for the peace of the Kingdom.
What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the wither'd field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun
And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer
To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season
When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughterhouse moan;
To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast
To hear sounds of love in the thunderstorm that destroys our enemies' house;
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field and the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door and our children bring fruits and flowers
Then the groan and the dolour are quite forgotten and the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains and the poor in the prison and the soldier in the field
When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me