I have been a little bit in love with classical string music over this lockdown. There is something about the way the violin sounds cut through all the background accompaniment. The wail of lament and joy in the busy composition. My fascination with the sound has stuck with me through this week and especially as I read in the Gospel today the words which Simeon says that cut through the joy of Jesus’ presentation in the temple to Mary, he says “and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Somehow these words speak so much truth into the way we are feeling right now. The vaccines have brought a glimmer of hope to an end to the atrocities this pandemic has brought yet the deaths, the despair, the loneliness, fear, isolation, are the swords that piece our hearts and souls every day.
I look to the violin for hope to deal with this, Rowan Williams in one of his most excellent books, the wound of knowledge speaks of the flesh that is stretched out to make the strings on violins. He speaks of the way musical instruments like the tabret and harp were used in the Psalms to sing praises to the Lord. An echo to the stretched out flesh of Our Lord on the cross where heaven sand out and rejoiced in the offering of His life for our redemption.
In this stretching out, we as His disciples share in this pain, sometimes we feel that we cannot take anymore, we cannot cope with more bad news, with more restrictions, we are pulled and pulled. But somewhere in all of this we suddenly see the light of Jesus breaking through the darkness and our heart strings are plucked, and like the violin, and we start to sing a new song in a seemingly hopeless place. As we stretch ourselves out in so many ways, Christ touches us, and the sweetness of his love sings.
Candlemas is a beautiful time where we end the season of Epiphany with the words of Simeon proclaiming God’s salvation to all
Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’
It is a time for us to draw in afresh to the promises of Christ, to dwell in the mantle of our Mother Mary, to remember that both know and share in our pain and suffering.
I encourage you all this evening to light a candle and sit in its light and allow Jesus to come and reach into your stretched out hearts, let the new song of his love sing out like the sounds of the violin.
May the peace and joy of Our Lord be with you all,
and may His mother pray for us.