Exodus 19 aptly describes my situation at Grahame Park. Just like Moses and the wandering Jewry in the desert, all of us here needs a confirmation. We tend to read the events of the Exodus as static scenes. What should come through these lines, however, is the fragility of the community. They are surrounded by the unknown ‒ and all the fears this unknown can generate. The landscape they see is not a domestic landscape. What they see is not their own. There is no time to cultivate this environment, which actually is barren. There is no feeling of a home, sense of settlement. Only a trying journey under a fragmented sky.
Here at Grahame Park, at St Augustine’s, we need a day-to-day manifestation of God’s love. There are no spectacular miracles here; the building is in a very sad state. Anyone with a loving heart towards God can only cry ‒ and do something to change the situation. That is why it is so important that as a community we listen to God’s powerful miracles in liberating the Jewry from the power of Egypt. We are called to draw strength on these powerful stories.
Two images are in front of me. The first is Janos Pilinszky’s poetic image from Children and Soldiers, a play in three scenes (In Hungarian, Gyerekek és katonák, színmű három képben.) One of the characters is a philosopher sitting in a glass-cage. When the lights are lit up in his bird-cage, the old philosopher starts typing. He reads it out but nothing can be heard of it. Noise?
The other image is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the side chapel of St Augustine’s. The ceiling came down few weeks ago and fell on Jesus’ statue breaking his two palms of hands. One of them, the right hand side, is completely broken off. This other one has lost all his fingers. The statue otherwise is beautiful. Nothing special about it, but our Lord has attained a special beauty. I see Him beautiful in this image. He absolutely shares the state of Grahame Park ‒ the story of the wounded, joys and sorrows of those who live here.
What happens between the two hands, the stretched out arms, resembles the Biblical scene of Exodus. How Moses confirms and nourishes his people by interpreting God’s powerful appearances. The desert bears life in the sense that this is the medium, the way, which leads us to Life. The desert may not be a habitat or a friendly home but is the homeland of Hope. Our call here at St Augustine’s is being part of divine encouragement.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..