Tag Archives: Christian Unity
When I first saw this picture that Rupert sent I had not read his reflection but I soon realised that our perceptions, thoughts and intuitions differed but in a creative way. Perhaps my grandson’s baptism attuned me to baptismal themes here. Thank you Rupert, for sharing this arresting image.
It was the dove descending that I first noticed, coming from the fiery light that overflows from the left hand side of the painting. The Spirit seems to be aiming for the water jar, just left of centre. ‘Fill the jars with water’, the Lord commanded at Cana, and the water and the wedding feast were transformed. To reinforce this connection, the jar at the very left has tongues of fire over it, the Spirit hovering over the waters. We are very much in John’s Gospel here: the cross is part of creation! There are six jars, as at Cana, and a basin in which to wash each other’s feet as in John’s account of the Last Supper.
The figures at the top right are in an attitude of adoration, which they express physically, they are not mere armchair Christians. And their attitude, their bowing, is athletic rather than abject. Thus is fear and trembling felt at a moment of great joy.
The three dancers across the middle of the painting are in harmony rather than unison with each other: there are may ways for Christians to be united, after all, but all hear and react to the same music.
The Cross – the blood-spattered Cross as Rupert points out – dominates the space, but is not a symbol of defeat. Rather like an Eschler work, its perspective is more than two dimensional, thrusting out of the frame, And where its shadow would be, were it not a blaze of light, the Light of the World, the undefeated Christ is carrying his banner forward. The dancers have seen him and respond in joy: the fourth person has appeared in the blazing fiery furnace: they are joyful, suffering, people of the light.
Let justice roll down like waters (Amos 5:24)
Christians in Indonesia recognize that in their land there are people who passionately try to practise their faith, but who oppress those of other beliefs. In the prophecy of Amos, God rejects the worship of those who neglect justice. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus reminds us that the outward sign of true worship of God is acting justly. Christians can sometimes be very committed to prayer and worship, but less concerned for the poor and the marginalized. When, as Christians, we work together on justice issues we grow closer to one another and to God.
At the table
empty plates, but for a few crumbs.
Everyone’s had their fill again,
at least for now.
Turning on the taps
we fill our bowls,
in the hope that the stains will disappear.
The water cascades
of any sign of human contact,
as if there had never been a meal.
In our polite conversation
and edgy discourse,
we fool ourselves
into thinking we are making a difference.
We faithfully gather,
but are we just acting,
for the others to speak up
as we wash our hands?
God of all,
you have shown us the path of justice.
You are the father of the orphan.
You are the constant companion of the widow.
You are the friend of the stranger.
In each of these,
may we meet you
and recognize the wind of your Spirit,
moving us toward the need for justice.
In all that we do,
may we know your grace and mercy
and offer healing and justice in your name.
How would you describe justice?
Where have you recognized justice in action?
Can we have unity without justice?
Go and Do
‘Charity is no substitute for justice withheld’.
Take time to reflect and remember campaign successes of the recent and distant past, e.g. the abolition of transatlantic slavery and the end of apartheid in South Africa. Visit Go and Do to read about recent successes in the campaign for tax justice.
Celebrate the successes and get together to discuss what action your community of churches could take to challenge injustice that is happening now. Visit Go and Do for some creative activism ideas.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK
SUNDAY 13th MAY at 6.30pm
St Dunstan’s Church
80 London Road
Canterbury CT2 8LS
This year’s service focuses on Christian Aid’s work in Haiti, as part of Christian Aid Week 2018, but also has a local focus, as the speaker will be Svenja Powell, who is part of Canterbury Welcomes Refugees, an organisation helping churches and charities to work together to welcome more Syrian refugee families in Canterbury.
Don’t forget: if you are in East Kent on Tuesday, please come to our hour of prayer for Christian Unity at St Thomas’s Church. If you cannot join us there, please find a moment to be with us (and with Christians throughout the world) in spirit.
If you are in East Kent on 23 January please join us to pray for Christian Unity. And if you cannot make it, spare a moment to be with us in spirit.