By Nicola Slee

You touched my flesh

with infinitely tender embrace:
with touch of charis,
the caress of grace,
the chrism of bliss.
You sought my face
with your lips,
came closer than breathing
to give me the kiss of peace.
No one loved me like this.
You opened my body
like rain parting leaves,
like the blessing of oil
on a dying man’s brow.
You blessed, broke and offered
the bread of your body.
You ate of my flesh,
you drank of my juice.
You forsook every other
and cleaved unto me.
We are flesh of one flesh.
We are forged of one will.
We are still,
in the heart,
in the bone,
in the dark,
in the tongueless,
wondering place
where two are made one.
We are gift,
we are grace,
we are the face of love.
We are one, we are one.

– Taken from Courage to Love: Liturgies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community, edited by Geoffrey Duncan (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2002). This poem was found at Michael J. Bayly’s blog, The Wild Reed.

Note: In Greek mythology, a Charis is one of several Charites (Greek: “Graces”), goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility. They ordinarily numbered three, from youngest to oldest: Aglaea (“Beauty”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”). In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae, the “Three Graces.”

Nicola Slee

nicola_sleeNicola Slee is a theologian and poet based at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, where she teaches feminist and contextual theology. 
She also works freelance, doing a wide range of writing, speaking and retreat work, with a particular interest in women’s spirituality, faith development, liturgy and poetry.  The author of numerous articles, her previous books include Faith and Feminism (DLT, 2003) and Praying Like a Woman (SPCK, 2004).  She lives with her partner and two cats in Stirchley, Birmingham. 

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

2 responses to “Charis

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