Anne Brown is a Methodist Minister who has served as a Chair of District for the past fifteen years in London North West, Beds, Essex & Herts, and currently Leeds.
The Bright Field – Glimpses of God’s glory
The Bright Field by RS Thomas
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
In 1987 my parents moved into a bungalow. Their neighbours had planted a leylandi hedge on the boundary between the two properties which rather blocked their view.
As the years went by the hedge grew to over 20 feet. But in recent years, there has been a change in the law and the neighbour has been obliged to cut the hedge, or forest down.
What a difference, now there is a wonderful view of fields and hills looking right on to the Cheviots.
Sitting in her living room my mother can now see the way the sun and clouds affect the various parts of the landscape – the view is quite awesome.
If you have time to just sit there looking out of the window.
RS Thomas in his poem describes the common rural experience of observing how a particular kind of weather – clouds and sunny intervals – can fleetingly have the effect of highlighting one particular field in a landscape, as if picking it out deliberately.
And this is an experience I have every time I visit my mother.
The temporary sunlit field, which the poet observed and then forgot, becomes an image of the one field that had the treasure in it – the pearl of great price.
The account of Moses and the burning bush reveals the voice of God and the call to Moses to save God’s people from slavery. Both the field and the bush are ordinary features of landscape that are temporarily lit up with transcendence.
A life-changing encounter with the holy is possible – so long as we will turn aside and take notice.
And that is what Lent is all about.
To keep Lent is to turn aside from the ordinary routines of our life in order to reflect; to notice what is going on, to detect what is really significant .It is to attend properly to what seems insignificant and might otherwise be missed.
I pray that during Lent you may all have some time when your can turn aside from the ordinary routines of your lives and see glimpses of God’s presence in the ordinary and feel blessed.