Queen's counsel XXII

June 2003

In our exploration of faith at Queen's, we have been studying Creation and the various possibilities of new creation as well. When we encounter those of other traditions and also those of no faith, it is important to recognise our common humanity and to be able to share our spiritual insights. As we enter the Trinity season, I thought it would be good to ponder in turn the Father who made us, the Son who redeemed us and the Holy Spirit who sustains us.

When we go back to our roots and read the book of Genesis, we find stories that don't relate much to our modern scientific awareness. Instead, they are intended to capture spiritual insights about our world and how we can relate to the Creator and to each other. When God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and His command gave birth to all things and He saw that it was very good.

There are echoes of this in our New Testament and particularly in St.John's writings. At the beginning of his gospel, we read that "all things came into being through him" and that "the life was the light of all people". In chapters 21 and 22 of the book of Revelation, a full cycle has been completed with images of a new heaven and a new earth prophesied along with images of a garden in which the "leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations" paralleling the harmonious life in the Garden of Eden would it were still so.

We are lucky in Birmingham to be able to draw on so many different creeds and cultures. Alongside a lecture on the Christian tradition, we were treated to an exposition of a Hindu perspective that included a very similar cycle. Brahman is the holy power that informs and animates the whole of reality the mystery is described in the Īśa Upanishad being "within this universe and outside of all this". It is also cyclic and everything in the end returns to Brahman, the source of all. I confess that I found myself marvelling at this great mystery and the common, unfathomable ground that we know only through faith how little we are in it all. Next time, again with some multi-faith input, we'll consider a little how Jesus informs our faith.

For now, with Miriam Therese Winter, let us pray:

Living God, loving God,
You are the source of all that is,
And all that is is holy when it seeks itself in You.
You are the bond that unites us all
and erases division. May we be one
as You are one in us and we in You.

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