Wednesday, 14 April 2010

a goal to inspire

How define what excites and inspires me most? Questions about God and the meaning of life are the biggest that can be asked. But the busyness of the normal run of life can hinder a full exploration and expression of them. Of course life itself can give insight into profounder truths, for instance I recall someone close saying at the birth of their first child, that it gave him a new appreciation of the wonder of the fatherhood of God. But the sense of a gulf to be crossed, a problem to be solved, can give a mission in life, and for me that gulf is this: on the one hand, the gospel contains purportedly the most radical and potentially life-changing truth anywhere to be found, and on the other, explicitly at least, our society is largely indifferent to it. That sense of gulf compels me to explore and seek to understand, and to communicate what I discover in creative ways. It feels like a worthy goal, a big enough ambition.

Monday, 12 April 2010

isle of wight adventure

I’ve been on holiday in Lymington, south coast of England. Thurs I took the ferry to the isle of Wight. A glorious sunny day. Cycled… an anti-clockwise trip, first to the needles at the westernmost tip, sheer white cliffs, three sisters jutting from the foaming sea. At the top, the rabbit-clipped rolling grass plain swept off eastwards. Passed a sign to a farmhouse offering cream teas, and was reminded of a jaunt along the south downs way with an old uni friend, when, passing through quaint thatched villages, we joked about the possibility of Joanna Trollope style scandalous goings-on behind privet hedges, and getting ‘hopelessly waylaid by tea and scones’. I had bought an explorer map, which unfolded like a vast origami deck chair. I constantly had to renegotiate it to keep up with my position, each time stuffing it back into a small square plastic map wallet. By the time I finally folded it back the way it was to begin with, it was like a paper accordion.
On the ferry back, a shimmering tapering gold-flecked path drew the eye across restless waves to the sinking sun.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The day Jesus died

This morning I watched ‘The day Jesus died’ on bbc1 - Bettany Hughes exploring the developing interpretations of Christ’s death down the centuries. Fascinating and profound. Especially moving were two examples of people who were touched by the recognition of God himself identifying with human suffering in the cross. German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, who, having witnessed some of the horrors of world war two, was depressed to the point of despair until he read Jesus’ words from the cross ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’. And the Archbishop of York John Sentamu… being with a fellow prisoner in Uganda who was beaten and close to death, he was able to tell the man how, in Christ on the cross, Jesus identified with him - and heard theman say, just before he died, ‘thank you’.
I’m intrigued by the richness of meaning in the Christian story. I’m not saying it is the only religious story with rich meaning - exploring how it is distinctive is also an ongoing topic of interest - but I am again struck by the paucity and limitedness of the response that regards the ‘christian god’ as a little petty god among many. Even with my own questions and sometimes doubts, a little meditation on even a single aspect of the gospel is like savouring rich wine, percolating through mind and spirit (billy may disagree!)