Sunday, 21 March 2010

Easter Thinking

"If our flesh is not renewed, then the Lord has not actually redeemed us with His life and death; then the Eucharistic cup does not make us sharers in His blood, and the broken bread, sharers in His body.
The heart of the truth is that the Word of God actually became flesh, and it was with that body, He actually redeemed us in His life, death and resurrection. As Paul puts it, 'In Him, though His blood, we have been redeemed".
Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century Christian theologian).

With many thanks to Kayceeus for permission to use her image.

Isn't it lovely, wrote an artist friend to me today, to sense the regenerative power of Spring in the air again?
We all know there's something pretty amazing about this time of year - the days becoming longer, warmer, the earth bringing forth a plethora of colour and richness. Everything speaks of a fresh encounter with the marvel of life, which breaks out from the coldness and seemingly iron grip of winter. It's not much of surprise, then, that many ancient religions cycled around the 'magic' of nature's fertility, but as the wise Epimenides pointed out to the Athenian Greeks around 600 BC, to reside at such a level is to stay in ignorance of the One behind such marvels.
The 'natural' victory of life over death we see creation play out every year whispers loudly concerning a deep reality at the heart of things - death is a usurper, preying upon our current demeaned "life", but things were and will be very different.

The heart of Christianity is an event that truly staggers us. The God who made us was not prepared to leave us in a state of futility and destruction when we walked away from His care, but this God Himself came to us, became as us, to suffer, to draw the sting of sin and death, to overcome these, and to give us a new life as real as the renewal of spring.

C S Lewis puts this so well - a quote which came swiftly to mind when I viewed the image above this morning:

"One has the image of a diver, stripping off layer after layer until naked,
going down through the green, sunlit water into the pitch black, cold, freezing depths,
down, to the very mud and slime,
and then, up again, lungs almost bursting, breaking back into the sunshine,
holding the dripping thing taken from the depths...
The thing is us, but with it, all of nature - the redeemed creation"

(The Grand Miracle).

As the flowers bloom, and the beauty clothes our world, that's worth thinking about...

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Getting it...

"It's not the Sun up in the sky.... It's the Son of God".
Uhura - Bread & Circuses.

A faith that is based on love - revealed by God's Son,
that enables unity that transforms the world....

James T Kirk is right - won't it be wonderful to see that come about in it's entirety?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Twixt the Pain and the Passion

Faith, which springs from charity is so very necessary to this present life,
that without it, we cannot continue in the world". Martin Luther

Last summer, amidst some very sorrowful weather, the gray days were suddenly warmed
when a new drama was shown on national television. Whilst providing a somewhat embroidered rendition of its subject, it spoke loudly of how, amidst the mess and chaos of this world, we can all be touched by the unmistakable, and on occasion overwhelming beauty and grace which we see woven into so much, especially amidst the pain and passion of our lives.

This superb video, taken from images from the drama and focusing on one strand of the story, which was certainly about the great need for redemption, reflects something of the delight of this production.

Desperate Romantics, which reveled in the highs and lows of the Pre-Raphelite artists, resonated deeply regarding the roots of my own artistic inspiration, and spoke well of how, amidst my work as a photographer now, artists are commonly seeking the deeper gems.

Christ, in His nature and work, shows the world how faith, working through love, transforms the tatters of our splintered existence to radiate something restored and whole - as with the light seen through a rainbow. Perhaps our gaze is still often small, only seeing a reflection of this, in a puddle on the ground, but once that 'rainbow' is there, the promise of a day when our sight is clear, our heads look up, is certain and sure.

Beauty can be a balm to our weary journey, when true faith and love are at home in our souls.