joseph of arimathea  Today marks the feast day honoring St. Joseph of Arimathea.  Scripture teaches us that he provided the tomb for Christ, but his story goes far beyond that one event.  Church legend has it that he was a tin and copper merchant, and traveled widely across Europe in his trade.  He was also believed to be the great-uncle of Jesus, who is reported to have accompanied him in his travels.  It’s believed that the young Christ came to what is currently England with his uncle, and that Druid priests sat and learned at his feet.  It’s also thought that as a young man, Christ and his uncle constructed a chapel together on the island. Today, The Lady Chapel stands on the site of the original structure, on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.  This rich tradition led William Blake to write his beautiful poem, “And Did Those Feet In Ancient Times…”, which has been adapted into the hymn, “Jerusalem”.

Undoubtedly, St. Joseph of Arimathea is the father of British Christianity, coming to Glastonbury and establishing the Church there following the death and resurrection of Christ.  There is some thought that he brought with him the cup of Christ, the Holy Grail, to England.  It’s of note that Glastonbury is also believed to be the burial site of King Arthur and Guinevere.  For today, enjoy reading Blake’s great poem, and have a listen to “Jerusalem”, a beautiful and stirring hymn.  Also, take a moment to learn more about Glastonbury Abbey here.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.