Marie-Elsa Bragg

Radio 4 Sunday Worship Reinventing Eden, 3 September 2017


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Marie-Elsa contributed a piece on Gethsemane linking it with the story of Sisyphus.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus
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Reinventing Eden
Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship visits the garden of Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, during their summer opening to the public. The service journeys from the Garden of Eden to Gethsemane to the river of the water of life - Eden restored - at the end of the Book of Revelation. It features reflections from the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and the author Marie Elsa Bragg. The service is led by the Revd Isabelle Hamley, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the preacher is the Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, the Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey. The music is led by St Martin’s Voices from St Martin-in-the-Fields. Producer Andrew Earis.
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092k22s
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POEM
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The seeds of ascension were in Gethsemane. The apple
became the olive; knowledge turned to surrender.
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Above was the Mount of Olives where Jesus would ascend.
Light whitening our faces, so that, for a moment,
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there would be no sleep; no day or night. Ground
would then reclaim us; our eyes blinking as we fall
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back into the garden. Once more in doubt, prostrate in grief.
The weight of our lives like a boulder to be rolled
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again towards the peak; a storm, an avalanche,
absurd weight ever cutting in to draw us back.
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Sisyphus pushed his old rock with Persephone watching
unseen from behind. A winter rich in fermentation for spring.
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Jesus grieved in Gethsemane, prostrate to the east.
A dark eye of tomb in the valley. Its stone walls
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painted with seasons and seas; linen soon imprinted.
I dreamt once that I pushed my boulder so close to the peak
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it rolled back and through Gethsemane, down to the tomb.
I dreamt it was the rock they used to close Him in.
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When I arrived, I set my shoulder to the stone and pushed
towards the peak. On my way, I passed a gardener and a woman
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standing so still it was as if they had no breath.
And somewhere in the evening chorus, I heard my name.
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I think the woman held a dusty veil.
I think the gardener’s palms were marked with seeds.
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