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Art for God’s Sake

It was Saturday – that strange day, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In the past I have spent it in prayerful reflection – waiting and watching, though some years it has come and gone, and hardly been noticed. This year was spent at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with even the weather was totally in between – winter and summer, wet and dry, sunshine and cloud! Here I was, staring at works of Art by sculptor, Tony Cragg, trying to make sense of it, trying to see what the artist is portraying – even looking into and through the Art to find an inner meaning. Aren’t these the questions we ask about life and death, and very much in the struggle to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus. Tony Cragg takes a portrait of someone and shapes it into a sculpture that reveals the essence of the person. I couldn’t help be struck by the subject of this one – being “Tommy,” for in the resurrection narrative it is Thomas who struggles to “see”, to understand, to believe that Christ has risen. Now I am looking at the man, and trying to understand him!

                                                                                                                           ‘Tommy’ by Tony Cragg

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A Tomb with a View

 

What a view! We often have pictures of a church, but here is the view from a church. It is Denholme Shared Church, a photo I took on Palm Sunday from the cemetery at the front of the church – hence “a tomb with a view”. The next photo is inside the church, showing a tableau of the bare cross on a hill, like Calvary, but surrounded by the dry-stone walls of Yorkshire, a scene that will change over the next few days as the church walks the way of the cross. Here is the Easter journey that will take the folk of Denholme to a tomb that will be empty, and where they will see with fresh eyes, as they hear the words “He is risen, he is risen indeed” – a tomb with a view, that invites us to meet the risen Christ in our world. What a view!

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To Malvern with Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other

If Karl Barth really said: “We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” he did refer to it in interview in 1966: “The Pastor and the Faithful should not deceive themselves into thinking that they are a religious society, which has to do with certain themes; they live in the world. We still need – according to my old formulation – the Bible and the Newspaper.” Armed with both, we headed for Malvern, which holds an annual Science and Faith Weekend.


 Mgr. George Lemaitre who invented the Big Bang Theory talks with Albert Einstein
https://www.pinterest.com/jablka/fr-georges-lemaitre)

I have always been suspicious of a Faith that won’t have a conversation with Science, or Science that pretends it doesn’t need Faith! In a world which seems to perpetuate a myth that science and Faith are at best incompatible, and at worst bitter enemies, determined to destroy each other it is so brave of Malvern to host a Science and Faith Weekend. Each year they attract respected and renowned speakers from the perspectives of not only science, but also politics, economics, philosophy and beyond. Described as ‘A Festival of Ideas’ there are lectures, seminars, workshops for all ages, with plenty of opportunities for questions and answers, exploring issues deeper and in relation to faith. No wonder it attracts hundreds of people who want to explore the meaning of life, and how Science and Faith can enrich our experience of that life. For us, the two came together in one person in our act of worship, as I shared it with the Right Revd. Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, who is also a passionate chemist.         Continue reading