The God

Of poets

Made of rhyme and metre,
the ability to scan
disorderedlines; an imposed
syntax; the word like a sword
turning both ways
to keep the gates of vocabulary.

Of Musicians

The first sound
in the silence; the frequency
of the struck chord; the electrical,
ultimate rhythm of the full
orchestra, himself the
conductor of it and the composer.

Of Artists

Who disguises
himself in wood and stone;
who has to be unmasked
with such patience; who escapes
in the end, leaving them standing,
tool in hand, in front of a supposition

Of Scientists

The agitation at the centre
of non-being; the agreed myth
of their equations; the experiment
that provded them wrong; the
answer they have overrun
that waits for them to turn around.

Of Theologians

The word as an idea,
drimbled by their dry
minds in the long sentences
of their chapters, gathering dust
in their libraries; a sacrmanet that,
if not soon swallowed, sticks in the throat.

Who IS

Whose conversation
is the aside; whose mind
is its own fountain, who
overflows. Who takes the Cross
from between his teeth
to fly humanity upon it.

One thing we have in common with our Creator is the urge to create – and it is there we are most like him. God’s love overflows into the creation of all things that are and ever shall be. As my beloved St Isaac the Syrian put it so perfectly:

“In love did He bring the world into existence; in love does He guide it during this its temporal existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of Him who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised

St Isaac, II.38.1-2

All we create is a product of that love, as we are ourselves:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10

In his litany of creators, Thomas once more uses paradox to remind us that for all our attempts, we can know of God in this mortal life only what he wants us to know. As creators we tap into and echo the “primary imagination” of God (Frequencies, p. 156). Thomas thought that “poetry and religion” were the two unifying themes which harnessed the imagination to God, and here we see echoes of that.

But as always with Thomas, it is a matter of echoes, resonances, allusions, but also of elusiveness. Our quest to pin God down has failed and will always fail. The tree on which the Son was nailed becomes a source of inspiration, of flying, for us – the paradox is complete. The twisting of the words in the imagination of the poet; the elusive chord sequences trailing away, captured only in our notation which is but an echo of what the spirit captured; the angel hidden in the marble; in all these God is and creates through us.

Those who seek to find order, whether the scientist or the theologian, risk missing the elusiveness in the need, their man-made need, to find labels and to order things. “Dry minds” and “long sentence” reminds my of my attempts to read Barth. Goodness me did I try. I am not stupid or unintellectual, but the more of him I tried to read, the more I got lost in a word-maze – the the further away from God I felt. I returned, as I always do, to my beloved St Isaac who captures the immensity of God’s creative love for us:

Among all God’s actions there is none which is not entirely a matter of mercy, love and compassion: this constitutes the beginning and the end of His dealings with us. 

In that is all we need to know.

The theme of this final week is “Seeing” and the words of St John ring out loud in terms of seeing God as he wishes us to see him”

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

john 1:14

Grace and Truth lie at the heart of great art, great music, great poetry, and they are permanent ephiphanies of that love with which God created all things. He beckons us on, in the words to the hymn, “to the place that he is gone.”

There is an #adventbookclub using “Frequencies of God” by Carys Walsh and you can support the publisher by buying it here: https://canterburypress.hymnsam.co.uk/books/9781786220882/frequencies-of-god. We’ll be running this club on Twitter and Facebook, and you are welcome to join in with thoughts and comments. Other folk doing this are https://grahart.wordpress.com/ and https://becausegodislove.wordpress.com/ so please pop over and read their thoughts too!