Tag Archives: William Blake

Sparks will Fly #12 #highestgood

There is a river in this heart of mine

With a knowingness of my highest good

These lyrics don’t appear until verse three, and it is only in verse three, that all the voices are heard. It is a favourite of the choir I sing in and the lines are followed by a Hallejuah as that is the name of the song, the Hebrew hallĕlūyāh ‘praise ye the Lord.  Praise is both noun and verb and when I experience the sound we make together, the sound itself is noun and verb, a declaration and an invitation. I can’t get the song out of my head this week, amidst the fallout from Christchurch, each day I am drawn into the leadership of a woman that is an expression of her country’s culture yearning to wholeness, and my own that created the product who executed the terrorism. I am taken back by the time Prime Minister Ardern is taking, to be in the grief, and not be in a hurry to move on, and encouraged by the world media who astonished by her behaviour continue to reflect on her. She is leaving no stone unturned, methodically she is going from place to place, school, hospital, family, mosque, park and playground. She is open, vulnerable, sad. She is a mother and a leader, a tigress protecting her nation with hope and humility, courage and strength. This is a new expression of leadership. She is redefining what it means to tap into the highest good of a nation. I am reminded of the best speech Kim Beazley ever gave – when he lost what I call the Tampa election in 2001. He recalled this in a conversation with Geraldine Doogue some years later

Like any nation there are bleak angels in our nature, but there are also good angels as well. And the task and challenge for those of us in politics is to bring out the generosity that resides in the soul of the ordinary Australia, that generosity of heart, so that we as a nation turn to each other and not against each other in the circumstances which we face.

Ardern has been able to actually do this – show us all how a politician can lead a nation in turning to one another and not against each other.

I am deeply disturbed by the results in the NSW election last night – a community of voters elected Mark Latham to One Nation and another community electing Jenny Leong as Greens member. There could be no bigger gap in a parliament between these two elected representatives.  Together they demonstrate the polarities defining our nation – white and non-white, male and female, inner city and regional. We are dangerously closer to the US in our political landscape than our friends across the Tasman.

In the NZ PM we are being invited to a transfiguration, an invitation to a complete change of form into a more beautiful or spiritual state, where politics is a reflection of our best selves and not a reduction to the lowest common denominator. We are being invited into leadership to transcend polarities by rising to our higher selves, by tapping into the river in our hearts, that yearns and knows what is good and great, graceful and gritty. We are arrive at this invitation on the threshold of our own Alleluia and with the question on our lips, are we the ones who knowingly and intentionally rise to the occasion and embrace those grieving by setting aside our own analysis, perspective, fear of the other.

This is a time to call on the good angels, the ones who will feed our spirits and souls and fill us up with courage and light, carry us through sad times and bring us deeper humanity.  Leaving people behind will breed bleak terrorist angels. It will have dogs being whistled by their masters, starving, in a dry river bed. We need to fill each other up.

In no time at all we will be heading to the national ballot box, where we can express how we feel with the rather blunt instrument of a vote. We are being called to turn to each other in our common heartache and broken-ness and this feels like an easter story in the making. It feels both like the last embers of a fire glowing in the dark and the promise of a new fire to light up a new way for generosity to show up in Australia. All kinds of sparks might fly.

by William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro all its regions
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State …


Cost of Pentecost

Dear Sor Juana,

Pentecost is around the corner and no doubt this would have a special festival for your sisters in the convent. A promise fulfilled, infusing a community with courage, language and confidence to go from their comfort zone to foreign lands, arriving at the biblical seven weeks after Easter. For the Jewish community it is a the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot a harvest festival fifty days commemorating the gift of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Both religious observances reaping from what was sown in days of dark and despair.

We all have our own little Pentecosts where we have waited for the arrival, and therefore confirmation, of a promise made at a time where the chance of it being kept seemed, at best, remote.

The promises we make to one another, some taking the form of vows or pledges are laced with anticipation; a humble effort to take care ahead of time what is present in the moment. What we look forward to, may come with a wild wind, in words we can’t quite decipher immediately or perhaps in a form we don’t immediately recognise. Just as the Dark One may be camouflaged by the light, so might the light be so blinding we have to spend time allowing our eyes to adjust.

Each little Pentecost invites us to hear new words and ways with new ears and hearts. With the rattling of the windows and doors we are invited to stop shaking with fear, to say our yes to the invitation that is being extended as our part in enabling a promise to be fulfilled.   Pentecost happens in community; the ekklesia; the assembly – it is not an experience of an individual – something to remember when there appears to be so many soloists in their practice of being church these days! Being in a community of sojourners as you were in the convent Sor Juana would have brought its challenges, but I suspect it was also a place to find solace, and a spirit of belonging to something bigger than your own singular vessel.

The little pentecosts I experience in the community of family, friends, fellow pilgrims and work mates are a series of call and responses leading me on.  The cost: to be in community and not be seduced to being a soloist. Even when I might be the only person walking the path, none of us walk alone.



Unless the eye catch fire, 
The God will not be seen. 
Unless the ear catch fire 
The God will not be heard. 
Unless the tongue catch fire 
The God will not be named. 
Unless the heart catch fire, 
The God will not be loved. 
Unless the mind catch fire, 
The God will not be known.

William Blake