Today I have had the pleasure of writing about the Magnificat, and the role it has played in my life. I found myself describing it as “one of those pieces of scripture which has got deep into my bones”, through years of daily repetition, spoken and sung. It has become part of the rhythm of my life, and shaped me in all sorts of ways. It has changed me, and my understanding and inhabiting of it has changed me, over the years. Not suddenly but slowly – but nonetheless dramatically. Like a cliff eroded by sea, those words of Mary’s have worn away at my soul, shaping it in new and unexpected ways.
But what has that got to do with today’s poem? R. S. Thomas speaks of the “slow chemistry of the soil” in a way which speaks to me of that same, slow spiritual weathering. There is perhaps an irony in the idea that a slow and steady life of prayer is how we encounter the “fast God”. But those rhythms by which we live and allow ourselves to be formed are the very things which allow us to watch patiently and steadfastly for the fleeting glimpses of God’s glory.
This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading “Frequencies of God: walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas” by Carys Walsh. Join the conversation on Twitter using #AdventBookClub or on Facebook by searching for the group ‘Advent Book Club’.