The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Experiencing the Power of Gratitude: In Sound and Gesture

August 12, 2020

Two weeks have passed since we released Light in the Lockdown, and the response and appreciation has been overwhelming. One of the most beautiful tokens of appreciation came from Emily Jeffery’s BBC Sunday Morning programme – Breakfast on BBC Radio Sussex. If you didn’t hear it, we have included a link to Emily’s gentle and insightful appreciation. Gratitude comes in many forms, at very unexpected moments. This week, thirteen years ago I read a short reading to my sister, written by the 13th Century Christian mystic — Mechtild of Magdeburg. My sister was in a deep coma and near the end of her life, but as I read these exquisite words, she smiled and moved her hands, and I knew she had heard the reading and loved it, so I have included it in our latest Words of Connection.

In total contrast we have a reading from the Rig Veda, the ancient Indian collection of Sanskrit hymns. It is a call for spiritual unity. Also in contrast a modern invocation – to the Ground of Being, from Starhawk’s Significant work – The Spiral Dance. Starhawk remains one of the most spiritually influential individuals alive today. The closing poem is a powerful and deeply mystical work by Jane Kenyon. It is called Briefly it Enters and Briefly Speaks.

Once more, thank you so much for your support and appreciation. It makes an extraordinary difference.

Enjoy the summer, and please, stay well.

Very best wishes

Chair IFCG


Mechtild of Magdeburg (1207 – c.1282)

And God said to the soul
I desired you before the world began
I desire you now
As you desire me,
And where the desires of two come together
Their love is perfected.

And The Soul replied  to God, saying

Lord, you are my lover
My longing
My flowing stream,
My sun,
And I am your reflection.

And God Answered…saying

It is my nature that makes me love you often,
For I am love itself.
It is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.
It is my eternity that makes me love you
For I have no end.



Let us be united.
Let us speak in harmony,
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer;
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be deliberations;
Alike be our feelings,
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions,
Perfect be our unity.



Nameless one
of many names
and ever changing one
Who is found nowhere
but appears everywhere
and within all.
circle of the seasons,
Unknowable mystery
known by all.
Lord of the dance,
Mother of all life,
Be radiant within us,
Engulf us with your love,
See with our eyes,
hear with our ears,
breathe with our nostrils,
touch with our hands,
kiss with our lips,
Open our hearts!
That we may live free at last
Joyful in the single song
Of all that is, was, or ever shall be!


Jane Kenyon  (1947-1995)

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years….

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me….

I am food on the prisoner’s plate….

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills….

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden….

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge….

I am the heart contracted by joy…
the longest hair, white
before the rest….

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow….

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit….

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name….