“On him the Spirit of the Lord rests”.
MONDAY 5th December
I am walking around Jerash near Amman. It is a winter evening, the sky blue but starting to yellow. The light is throwing the whole scene, Roman roads, piazzas, columns and temples into a golden glow. There are few people around; the weight of the centuries and of the ruined Byzantine churches weighs heavily. Recalled by William of Tyre in 1141, I contemplate the passing of two millennia and the passing nature of our affairs. Here Christianity was vibrant fifteen centuries ago.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; declare it to the distant lands”
“Behold, our Saviour will come; you need no longer fear…”
TUESDAY 6th December – St Nicholas
A long flight back. I rest up for a moment in Mass at Westminster Cathedral.
As we fly over Palestine I can see the Dome of the Rock glinting in the sunlight. Back in foggy London I hear these words:
“Console my people, console them says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended”
… Extraordinary that Jerusalem still stands at the heart of the world’s troubles.
WESNESDAY 7th December – St Ambrose
I rush from meeting Amyas Morse to discuss his National Audit Office budget to the Brexit debate and ask the Secretary of State to guarantee a swift bill if we lose the Supreme Court case.
“How can you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord’”
THURSDAY 8th December – The Immaculate Conception
I am writing this a couple of weeks later. A friend has just asked me to read Luke 26-38 in our Christmas Day service or readings and carols, and here it is –
“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee named Nazareth…”
FRIDAY 9th December
Isaiah 48: 17-19
“If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea”.
I notice that recently I have become more conscious of my surroundings as I am being driven around and delight in the Christmas lights of London, the decorations twinkling on the small houses of Lincolnshire, even the bare trees. Is it because I am getting older, entering on the last quarter of my life, appreciating each moment, or is it because I have got new glasses and I am wearing them more often!
SATURDAY 10th December
We go to drinks at a friend’s home.
The Psalm for today is number 80:
“Lord of Hosts bring us back, let your face shine on us”.