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Saint Joan

Years ago when I was rehearsing for a production of ‘St Joan' in France, my director took me to Joan of Arc’s birthplace. I went into the old chapel which was built on top of the chapel where the young ‘Jeanne’ first felt she heard the voice of God. I cannot claim exactly to have heard or seen God, but as a patch of light shone over the altar something drove me to my knees. I felt suddenly as if I was somewhere between the past and present, between heaven and earth, between saint and actress. Every time I knelt on stage in the role thereafter I could feel that strange mixture of awe and wonder — something like the ‘fear of the Lord’ making my heart race and twitching in my muscle fibres. No acting was required. All I had to do was fall to my knees and remember.

Sometimes in the middle of prayer or praise you suddenly overwhelm me.
I don’t know how or why, 
but I realise this is no longer a prepared speech or a polite conversation. 
It is more visceral than that. 

It’s like you cross the border from your body into mine. 

I am speechless.   
I am unsettled

Something like fear
something like wonder
courses through me

Tears rise unbidden
Laughter erupts 
I tremble
And all I can do is fall.

Every time it happens, I fall a little further into you. 
Keep me falling into your wisdom, Lord.

Psalm 111: 9-10 (NRSVA)

9 He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant for ever.
    Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practise it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures for ever.


By Stewart Goudie, one month ago

Thanks, Rhona.
That is a powerful message and thought for today.
Thanks for sharing it.
It reminds me that God is more powerful and awesome than we can imagine!

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