Monday, 8 February 2010

All you need is love ... it is what it is says love

As worship began this morning I was a little surprised when the pianist struck up the Marseillaise (we are not praying for France but for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg) then of course the music progressed and became "All you need is love ..." and quite a number of us laughed at our double take.
As we left the chapel we were encouraged to help ourselves to heart-shaped sweets and some of the candles were placed in a heart shape in front of the altar. Love was the theme our colleagues from the Benelux countries had chosen for the service this morning, but it was not saccharine sweet and had great depth and simplicity - as well as some very welcome humour! You can find the outline here.
In her sermon Jet den Hollander ranged from memories of a Valentine's Day spent many years previously in Cuba to reflections on the present day diversity of the Netherlands and the word "allochtoon” meaning those coming from a foreign land as opposed to "autochtoon" meaning of the land itself. She ended first with a celebration of the Belgian/Dutch Roman Catholic theologian Edward Schillebeekx and then with the wonderful poem by Erich Fried Es is was es ist sagt die Liebe, read in English by different voices around the chapel. It was a powerful and beautiful moment.
Is love justice? is love harmony? is love unrealistic, idealistic?
It is what it is says love ...
I've posted Erich Fried's poem before but here it is again, in English rather than German, with thanks to our liturgical team this morning.
You can find Jet's sermon here.

IT IS WHAT IT IS ~ Erich Fried

it is nonsense, says reason
it is what it is, says love

it is unhappiness, says reflection
it is nothing but pain, says fear

it is hopeless, says insight
it is what it is, says love

it is ridiculous, says pride
it is frivolous, says caution

it is impossible, says experience
it is what it is, says love