“O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
The hands of God and humanity reaching out to touch
(from a painting by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, Rome)
I am reading an amazing book called “A New Map of Wonders” by Caspar Henderson. As one of its reviewers says, ‘for there to be science, there has to be wonder!’ and Henderson certainly marvels at the wonders of creation all around us – in light, the material universe, the human body, and shapes his wonder in ‘maps’ of information. This reminds me of the coalescence in Psalm 8 of both awe for creation and how the Laws of Nature hold it all together, and the complexity of how humanity relates to it all – just like a map of wonders
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NRSV
Lent began this year with Valentine’s Day, when I was challenged to ask, ‘what is real love’? On the Sunday at Longcauseway United Church, Dewsbury the church Leadership Team led the service, but it was a real leading by the Holy Spirit, who took us through worship and teaching to the very heart of God.
In Jesus Christ we receive all the love that God has to give, and by the Holy Spirit we are given that love for ourselves, (yes, for each and every one of us ) and to share with everyone else. The children made hearts for everyone, but as you received the first one, you were to give it to someone else, and then someone would share theirs with you. It was a very simple but powerful activity. As our own hearts are forgiven, healed and restored, we receive a new heart to live a new life, as the old has gone. Another ‘sketch’ acted out, at first by the young people, but then inviting others to join in was “People in the Box” – what a wonderful hotchpotch of humanity was invited into the box, but even more profoundly, leapt out of the box together.
Here was the clue as to how Lent will end – on April Fool’s Day!
Here I am again, frustrated of Wakefield, but with a Truth to share. In all my disappointments and doubts, there is Truth staring me in the face. It is as though Jesus is alongside me.
“Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’” (John 18:37, NRSV)
At last I can see those amazing Christians who belong to the Truth and witness to the Truth by listening to Jesus’ voice. Of course, we have always had the testimonies of saints, whether in history, or living in horrendous situations today – stories of humbling Faith and commitment to the Kingdom of God, often involving miracles and wonders. Amazing as they are, they can depress me even more, as I look at my life, and my pathetic response to the Gospel, feeding off a world of affluence and freedoms. But let me share one or two encouragements of the Church around us working together as the body of Christ – very ordinary, almost mundane, yet spiritually powerful and a witness to Truth