You chose the natural timber
to die on that the natural
man should be saved. What boughs,
then, will need to be crossed
and what body crucified
upon them for salvation
to be won for the astronauts
venturing in their air-conditioned
capsules? Will artificial living
give birth to the artificial
sin? What prayers will they say
upside down in their space-chambers?
Are you prepared to reveal
the nuclear brain and the asbestos
countenance to deserve their worship?
They are planning their new conurbations
a little nearer the stars,
incinerated by day and by night
glacial; but will there be room rhere
for a garden for the Judas
of the future to make his way through
to give you his irradiated kiss?
—R. S. Thomas. Mass for hard times.
Highgreen: Bloodaxe: 1992.
all murmur an Amen
to the prayers. The preacher
deviates within narrowing
parameters. They were born
in sight of the one church;
they have to lie in its shadow.
Man has to believe
something. May as well invent
in this creed as in that.
Parthenogenesis! the door was flung
open to proliferation:
Nicea, Chalcedon. The divine
blood dried in the libraries;
but the pages formicated
with the contradictory words.
The preacher scales unbelievable
heights by the bones of the martyrs.
What would his listeners
die for? Are they selective
like me, knowing that among
a myriad disciplines each one
has its orthodoxy from which
the words flow? Alas, we are heretics all,
and the one we subscribe to
is not love any more than the kingdom
the sake of which we are
is the kingdom of heaven.
—R.S. Thomas. No truce with the Furies.
Highgreen: Bloodaxe, 1995.
"What boughs, then, will need to be crossed and what body crucified upon them for salvation to be won for the astronauts venturing in their air-conditioned capsules?" (Image from Kubrik's 2001: a Space Odyssey)
Lord Jesus Christ, you devoted your life and your death to our redemption. Grant that what you have done for us may also be done in us: that, growing into your likeness, we may serve you and share in your redeeming work.
W.A. Mozart. Great Mass in C minor (K.427).
Bavarian Radio Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
Et incarnatus est
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.