Tag: Sacred

Renewing our sense of the sacred

Homily St Mary’s Marlborough, 29th September 2019
St Michael and All Angels: Genesis 29.10-17 & John 1.47-51

Today, on the 29th September, the Church celebrates the Feast of St Michael and All Angels. A belief in angels, I suspect, is one of the more problematic Christian beliefs in an increasingly secular society.

angelA few years ago, I read what I thought was a helpful book about approaching a belief in angels (Earth Angels : Engaging the Sacred in Everyday Things by Shaun McNiff) . Its first chapter starts by saying that “Angels are a way of looking at the world, infusing life with creative vitality and renewing our sense of the sacred”. It may be a bit too ‘spiritual’ rather than orthodox religion, but I do feel that this way of looking at the world and God’s presence within it, is valuable, as it can help us to reflect on the importance of material objects and places.

Indeed, our own Bishop Andrew uses the reading from the Old Testament that we just heard as a starting point for his theology of place (Parish: An Anglican theology of place by Andrew Rumsey). A theology of place and objects is ultimately an exploration of the relationship between God, people and the world around us. Places, such as churches or pilgrimage destinations; objects, such as the water in Baptism, and the bread and wine at the Eucharist, only gain their significance in as far as they are essential in the expression of God’s being and our relationship with him.

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A Question of Faith

A reflection on the interplay between the natural and the sacred, originally written for Marlborough’s Tower and Town May edition

‘Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty’ – John 4.10

In the human quest to find extra-terrestrial life – life outside the earth –, the search for water has been crucial. NASA’s motto in the pursuit of extra-terrestrial life has been “follow the water”. Why? Because, as far as we know, liquid water is essential to all life on earth, and therefore we assume it may well be essential to life outside our planet as well.

WaterGiven the fact that we cannot live without water, it is no surprise that in most world religions, including Christianity, water has a major role to play. It can be a threat: both gods and creatures have been thought to hide in seas and lakes, representing the dangers that people experience on sea. The power of gods and God has been shown in having power over water, such as the parting of the Red Sea and Jesus calming the storm.

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