Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Resting from labour

Readings for All Saints. Celebrated on 1st November or a Sunday round that time. Isaiah 25:6-9; Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6; John 11:32-44

When we talk about the dead we often use the language of rest and sleep.
"Asleep in Christ", "Rest in peace" and so on...
One of my former parishioners once said to me at someone's funeral
"The last thing I would want is eternal rest"
I can't help but agree, it sounds rather boring
Cautious speculation
We need to be cautious about speculating about what life for the dead is like
although we have some, even many, references in the Bible to life after death
many of them are highly poetic are filled with imagery
which we need to remember
and be cautious about taking literally what is meant to inspire the imagination.
If we think about the use of images
we use them precisely because we want to think more expansively
rather than less
the images seek to engage us at a deeper level
than a mere literalism might so do.
When we look at a crowd, for example,
and talk about a "sea of faces"
this is much more evocative
than simply saying 2000 people, or lots of faces.
The use of the image "sea"
conjures all sorts of feeling and emotions for us.
The sense that there is a vastness, it has a sameness about it from moment to moment,
yet it is also infinitle variable.
It can be placid and calm, or raging and exciting..,.and so we might go on
The image opens up doors that otherwise remain shut.
The question of truth
There is sometimes the suggestion that anything less than the narrowly literalist
is not exactly "true"
This is not the case if you think about it.
The image in essence opens up areas that would otherwise be firmly closed

......more coming

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