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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003
    Celtic night
     
    That old George MacLeod story came alive again tonight, on a workshop I was leading on Celtic Christian spirituality:
      A boy threw a stone at a stained glass window of the Incarnation. It nicked out the "E" in the word 'HIGHEST' in the text, 'GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST.' Thus, till unfortunately it was mended, it read, 'GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGH ST'.
    Enjoyable, sharing verses from the Carmina Gadelica with folks who'd never heard anything so simultaneously earthy and other-worldly; and inviting them to see how they'd possibly fit them into their own lives.

    We ended with 'Liverpool Hope', which isn't an advert for a local university college, but a localised adaptation of something the Late Late Service produced a decade ago, which moved us tonight as it always will, with a heavenly vision for this grimy place:
      LIVERPOOL HOPE

      I saw a vision:
      it was last Thursday at eleven o'clock in the morning.
      I was standing at the top of Brownlow Hill, looking down over the city
      and the cold, blue autumn sky broke open over my head
      and the Spirit of God breathed on my eyes and my eyes were opened:
      I saw Liverpool, the holy city, coming down out of heaven
      shining like a rare jewel, sparkling like clear water in the eye of the sun
      and all the sickness was gone from the city
      and there were no more suburbs and schemes
      no difference between Grassendale and Granby
      I saw the Mersey running with the water of life,
      as bright as crystal,
      as clear as glass
      the children of Liverpool swimming in it

      And the Spirit showed me the tree of life
      growing in Sefton Park

      I looked out and there were no more homeless people
      there were no women working the streets
      there were no more junkies up the closes
      HIV and AIDS were things of the past
      there were no more racist attacks
      no more attacks on gay people
      no more rapists
      no more stabbings
      no more Protestants and Catholics
      no more IRA graffiti, no more Orange marches
      because there was no more hate
      and I saw women walking safe at nights
      and the men were full of passion and gentleness
      and none of the children were ever abused
      because the people's sex was full of justice and joy.

      I saw an old woman throw back her head
      and laugh like a young girl
      and when the sky closed back her laughter rang in my head
      for days and days
      and would not go away.
      This is what I saw, looking across to the Liver Buildings,
      looking up from the city of death
      and I knew then that there would be a day of resurrection
      and I believe that there will be a day of resurrection.
    Adapted from 'The Prophet's Speech', in Words From The Late Late Service, Glasgow 1993