An Evensong Meditation on the Feast of St Michael & All Angels
Evensong 26th Ordinary Sunday (28.9.14)
You may recall that prayer after communion (in The New Zealand Prayer Book) which contains the phrase ‘You met us in your Son and brought us home’: while alluding to one gospel story, that phrase carries the main thrust of the Christian story; our journey of faith, our search to make sense of our lives and find again our home, our ground in God.
I suggest that this religious search is deeply grounded in our humanity and we find it in poetry, myth and music and I want to very briefly reflect on some aspects of this.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
when the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
Eliot maps our human condition as one of constant exploration but he has no doubt that as the source of our being resides in God, so is our end – and we ‘will arrive where we started’. (That is of course an over-simplified way of putting it - symbolically there is a profound difference between the lost Eden and the New Jerusalem.)
This is absolutely and quintessentially a religious and spiritual quest. It is the grounding reality that Christian spirituality taps into and maps. The vast scope of the Biblical story begins with the loss of Eden and ends with our yearning for home in the new creation, the heavenly Jerusalem, and foresees our eventual return - when we will know the place for the first time, entering through that ‘unknown, remembered gate.’