Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

the gleam of light on water – 4th pause in Lent

The theme for this Sunday in our church was light, or vision. It’s a theme that matters a lot to me.

The ‘gleam of light on water’ is an ancient Celtic metaphor for a moment of delight, or enlightenment – a glimpse of the ‘otherworld’. It’s the metaphor I used to underpin Lúcháir, though I don’t think the enlightened world is so very ‘other’. As Christians we’re supposed to believe in the resurrection of the body, not some disembodied etherial blissed out state of mind, which means there’s a definite place in our spirituality for a deep love and commitment to the world we’re in.

But we have to see it differently. See it as it is, not as we want it to be (or are afraid it might be). See it as a masterpiece of creation, not a snare or a delusion. And see every fact we can establish about it as a gift from God (so there’s no room for pretending evolution didn’t happen). It has been a tradition in my family, which is heavily biassed in favour of the sciences, that all truth leads to God. If you think there’s a contradiction between faith and science, then you probably don’t understand one or the other (and possibly both).

I was going to go on about this, but frankly the whole thing makes me cross. I know that people on both sides are just lining up along the party lines because they hate the other lot. I’ve heard Catholics sneer at the Big Bang theory, and I can see that if they realised that one of the leading scientists involved in discovering it was a Catholic, they’d change sides without breaking step. And some Protestant fundamentalists talking about the earth being 6000 years old, who would drop it like a hot potato if they knew that this calculation was made by a bishop (and well after the Bible was written!). And there are some atheists who find it hard to accept that any Christian can be a scientist at all.

Seeing with the eyes of faith doesn’t involve switching your brain off. It involves switching your heart on. Then maybe we can hear the insights of people we don’t agree with, and learn from them, without sacrificing our own integrity. And that would be a whole other world!






2 responses to “the gleam of light on water – 4th pause in Lent”

  1. Floss Avatar

    Hear hear! I am leaving your post up on the screen to cheer my husband’s heart (because sometimes, like you, he gets very upset about this false division – he’s a scientist himself). Thank you for putting it so clearly and faithfully, Elizabeth.

  2. Elizabeth Rimmer Avatar

    Thank you Floss! I must admit to having been a bit worried about this post, but it’s something I feel so strongly about I thought I’d better say something.

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