I have had the week off.
I have had time to think, to reflect, to read, to watch movies.
I have also done a lot of walking as I ‘tweeked’ the old back after preaching last week.
As the week unexpectedly opened up for me I decided on one day that my walking should be around the Tate Modern. I love the Tate and, apart from various coffee shops, I really miss just popping in and out of this creative space like I used to be able to when I was a member and working in London twice a week when with YFC.
Personally, for me, I find I hear from God through film and art just as much as I do through Bible study. I find wandering through the galleries of the Tate, and just wandering around the Borough Market area of London to be quite an inspiring space for me, especially when I am feeling dry as I have for the last few weeks.
I found a number of exhibits to be amazing to study. I found myself mentally climbing the stairway. I’m not sure where it is leading, and I’m not sure where I was going as I climbed … but the piece itself was stunning, captivating and drew you into its space.
I was particularly struck however by an un-named piece by Robert Morris. Morris’ piece captivated me and got me thinking as he has exerted minimal control over it’s appearance, effectively giving up control of how the art appears. The piece consists of a number of strips of felt which are suspended and allowed to form their own shape under their own weight. Effectively this means that the shape changes each time this work is displayed. The material determines it’s own shape.
I was challenged by this as I wondered whether God had a message for me in this for the gathering. Sometimes I wonder whether we try to control things, events, maybe even God, just too much. In our fear to not offend, or in our obsession with accountability, or our ideas on what should and needs to be included, there is a tendency to try to force things into particular moulds.
We have been trying to create something new with the gathering. Some of what we do is very creative and different. Certainly some visitors, who are very very comfortable in the Christendom mould, have not coped with our openness, our inclusivity, our vulnerability and our desire to move forward together, learning from each other and encouraging each other.
What we do, however, still looks like a church service … a very relaxed and fdcreative one, but still one nevertheless.
I guess when you try to create something new it’s hard to break out of the mould that you have grown up with. When you have been so used to doing something one way, and so used to hearing that a b and c need to be included or done in a particular way, it then becomes very different to see any other way to do things.
So I wonder … whether in some way, and I don’t know how, that we need to let the weight of our ideas, our dreams and our passions find their own shape. In order for this to happen we need to find out how we can give them the freedom to relax into their own shape.
I’m not sure we know how to do that … … yet!