Genesis 1:26-31Job 38:1-11This is a reflection on last weeks Summer School - a couple of days spent visiting various locations around Cumbria from a Hill farm, to some small environmental projects to a wind farm to Sellafield. The connecting theme was creation and the environment and from a reflection on Blakes The Tyger, set to music by John Taverner we ask the question "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"How are we to use the power of creation? Hill farms creating a managed pastoral landscape seems like a natural use of creation - yet the economics may be unsustainable, the social conditions make it difficult for future generations. Small communities using sustainable energy like ground heat source, micro wind and solar energy - consuming less energy using renewable energies.How do we react to other forms of renewable energies? Wind Farms, tidal barrages, nuclear power stations. Is this creation, this technology to be used? If we are concerned about global warming, limited goal and gas resources then these solutions are better than conventional power stations - but each has problems and the environmental lobby are divided about the way forward.Blake contrasts the awesome power of the - Tyger, Tyger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night,/What immortal hand or eye/Could frame thy fearful symmetry? - with The Lamb, the classic pastoral setting - Jesus the sacrificial lamb - “Did he who made the lamb make thee?” Is that pastoral setting the voice of innocence? - Are those small efforts in village hall and suburban street, so worthy, nothing more than quaint feel good efforts? The real decisions are about wind, tide, nuclear, coal, gas - are they God’s gifts to us? how are we to use them? Do we use our God given creative skill to exploit every resource available to us? Each has a cost - economic, social, environmental - can we include a theological cost? a creation cost?Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
A celebration of God’s lovein song, art and a few wordsThis hymns expresses something of the all-embracing nature of God’s love expressed through different aspects of the Trinity. It speaks of relationship within Godself and with the whole of creationGod in relationship “dance of the holy three” as Jo expresses it in Doctrine of the Trinity on Disclosing New WorldsFocusing on Christ we sing a salvation story - love expressed through the fullness of God but revealed in Jesus. That fullness is the Trinity and so we should be careful of ideas which suggest that OT God is nasty wrathful God and Jesus reveals the nicer NT God. The love of God is revealed through the whole salvation story from the beginnings of time into future days.The dance of the holy three in relationship with the dance of humanity?The Spirit was not something new at Pentecost, We are reminded that Moses met with this same Spirit in the desert, that the Spirit brings Kingdom Joy, freedom from earth-bound ways and through this Spirit we are new born - time and time again.
How big is your God?
Big enough to be the creator of all things yet personal enough to be in relationship with each of us?
Big enough to create each living things and open enough to offer the freedom to each to live in their own way?
Big enough to be understood in a million different ways or so small that you understanding has to be restricted and restrictive?
To embrace Trinity can open us up to the awesome, diverse nature of the “dance of the holy three” or can restrict us to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Male, authoritarian, regimented.Mothering God, you gave me birthin the bright morning of this world.Creator, source of every breath,you are my rain, my wind, my sun.Mothering Christ, you took my form,offering me your food of light,grain of new life and grape of love,your very body for my peace.Mothering Spirit, nurt’ring one,in arms of patience hold me close,so that in faith I root and growuntil I flow’r, until I know.Julian of NorwichEgo Sum 4, William Congdon, 1960. Christus RexI am - Creator, Salvation, a bird in flightI am - created to think, create, explore,to joyfully play, dance, sing,to relate holy three to all humanityShe dances in fire, startling her spectators,
Waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;
She weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,
Nor can she be captured, silenced or restrained.A salvation story - God who lives in community with Godself, calls us to live in community with one another and to join with the dance of the holy three. God who lives in perfect love, perfect relationship, inspires us to love and to heal broken relationships.We gather around this table to break bread, share wine, to commune with God and with all who seek the way of God.At the heart of this salvation, this good news, this gospel is the cross and an empty tomb - a story of new life, hope, the offer to move from the past into the future - to be born again.When I survey the wondrous crosson which the Prince of glory died,my richest gain I count but loss,and pour contempt on all my pride.Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,save in the death of Christ, my God;all the vain things that charm me most,I sacrifice them to his blood.See, from his head, his hands, his feet,sorrow and love flow mingled down;Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,or thorns compose so rich a crown?His dying crimson, like a robe,spreads o’er his body on the tree;then am I dead to all the globe,and all the globe is dead to me.Were the whole realm of nature mine,that were a present far too small;love so amazing, so divine,demands my soul, my life, my all.Isaac Watts (1674-1748), 1707Christ Crucified between the Virgin and Nicodemus, Michelangelo, c 1552-54.Take, eat; this is the body of Christ, broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of him.This cup is the new covenant in the blood of Christ,shed for you and for all, for the forgiveness of sin.
Drink of it, all of you, in remembrance of him.
"Valley of Dry Bones" from Book of Books, Trevor DennisA balloon only becomes a balloon once air has been breathed into it. A group of people only become the church when the Spirit of God is breathed into their lungs. There are many who believe that the church is dead - just old bones drying in the sun. I believe that God is breathing new life into the church and we need to dream our dreams. What are your dreams for the church?"Wind & Fire" from Book of Books, Trevor DennisMany of our dreams will involve having full churches - but the church grew from small beginnings and perhaps we are meant to be small - like salt, or yeast or a single light in the darkness. These few people were called out from their fear to change the world. "Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world." How can the church change the world?Here is a dream, a vision a hope, a desire. Perhaps it can be a dream for the church. I don't know what Bruce Springsteen thinks about the church, or where he is on his spiritual journey. But I know I want to belong to a church that shares his Land of Hope and DreamsHow does it sound?This churchCarries saints and sinnersThis churchCarries losers and winnersThis churchCarries whores and gamblersThis churchCarries lost soulsThis churchDreams will not be thwartedThis churchFaith will be rewardedTime for Syke Chapel to take your dreams and change the world.