BREATHING SPACE

MY CHURCHWARDENS and I had an astonishingly creative encounter with artist Stephen Raw today – and I’m still buzzing from it. It’s a real delight that the new Arts and Faith Network in the Diocese of Chester exists to foster the (to me so very obvious) links between theology and art, between theology and the arts.

Four people encountered each other today in a literally “sparking” sort of a way. Ideas and colours, and prose and poetry, and heart speaking to heart, and light and dark, and liminal space (what pyschologists call “a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be”) – made for a scintillating, life-enhancing, praise-full morning. This, for me, is giving God “worth”; proper, Christ-like, celebration of “life in all its fullness”. Worship. Richness. The beauty of holiness … in “the ordinary” that wouldn’t necessarily recognise itself as holy. Such encounters (and you can make any encounter such) afford us Breathing Space, which is to say: they are Life. And I do worship.

FULLNESS

THERE’S A DEEP RICHNESS, a fullness, about the lovely people with whom I live and work in my daily life as a parish priest. I never fail to be amazed by the wells of goodness and of self knowledge I encounter in so many. And that’s the proper starting point in our relationships with God and with one another. Acknowledgement of richness, diversity, colour, beauty, glory, plenty, promise, fullness.

We’re God’s Harvest and it’s ours to live and to love and to celebrate life under the all-encompassing and beautiful dome of the sky. God is good and all that God has made is good. The same God has made us to co-create good too. We’re blessed with an abundance that needs to be acknowledged before we begin to consider what may be lacking. And when we live thus eucharistically – thankfully – we find ourselves moved to play our part well in making up the shortfalls where we do identify them.

I OFFER THANKS, Lord of all Life, for the fullness and for the beauty I see in the people around me now. God grant to me and to all your people the blessing of grace to welcome, open-heartedly, the glories of fullness, and of individual, deeply personal, finely crafted, beautifully made story and giftedness in every woman, child and man upon earth. As you do.