In The Times today Geoffrey Rowell has a Lenten meditation based on a recent visit to Majorca and participating in a local pilgrimage there. Journey reveals signs of the new life of spring. He concludes:
When I was young I remember a teacher demonstrating the way in which disordered iron filings on a piece of paper arranged themselves in a pattern once a magnet was placed beneath them. In the same way, if we but open our lives to it, the magnetic love of God can order our disordered love, “setting our feet upon a rock and ordering our going”, as the psalmist put it. And what that love of God is we see and know in the Cross of Christ, the “very book of charity laid open before us”, and in his Easter victory. Lent is the springtime of the soul because it leads to Easter, and Easter leads to Pentecost and the love of God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
It is this for which we were made. It is this for which the world is made — so its beauty points us to God, the source of all beauty. The transfiguring grace of the Holy Spirit enlightens our eyes so that the source of all our seeing is rinsed and cleansed to know the “dearest freshness deep down things”.
There is repentance needed here also, for the world is so often made ugly, disfigured and polluted and its resources wasted by our greed and destruction. Sin, although inescapably personal, has social and corporate dimensions and consequences. We need both to see and to choose aright in caring for the world which God made and which he saw was good. As John Keble put it in words we could use as a Lenten prayer:
Thou who hast given me eyes to see
And love this sight so fair,
Give me a heart to find out Thee
And read Thee everywhere.
And in so reading, to pray that we may be given that right judgment in all things — in the ordering of our love, the shaping of our lives, and our care for creation — which is the gift and grace of the life-giving Spirit of God.
In the Guardian Paul Oestreicher writes from Dresden about the anniversary of the RAF bombing: Spirit of the white rose.
To come to this city as it remembers the burning pyres of February 1945, on behalf of its twin city Coventry, is to come with mixed emotions. These are even more complex for me. As a child who fled Hitler, I remember my grandmother – a victim of the real Holocaust. In an address to the people of Dresden, representing Coventry cathedral, I shall remind people of Coventry’s provost who, six weeks after the blitz of 1940, preached a sermon in the ruins of his cathedral in which he rejected all thoughts of revenge. He declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-like kind of world”. The people of Coventry at that time shook their heads. It didn’t fit in with a world in which popular opinion had it that the only good Hun was a dead Hun.