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Collection of the Whangarei Art Museum. Acrylic on canvas
no two displays of her work will ever look the same. In order to view her work, therefore, one has to study the textures and contours and observe the ways in which the colours reflect off one another in that particular context: the art is not flat, nor is our viewing of it!
Absolutely. That’s why we need art and poetry in our lives. And that’s why we need books like this one. For exactly the same words might be said of the Holy Spirit, and that, in turn, is exactly why I find it exciting and inspiring to be a priest in the Church of God today; exactly why biblical exegesis and the wider theological enterprise holds my daily attention. No two displays of Holy Spirit’s work will ever look the same. Her art is not flat, and will and must be viewed from innumerable angles and approaches.
Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, recently preached a sermon about leadership – another human “art” that is not flat, nor is our viewing of it! – at the end of which she quoted the murdered Archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero:
“It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that can be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that will one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there’s a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not the Master Builder; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”