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Posts Tagged ‘Scintilla’

On Monday (inbetween worrying about Synod and checking my phone for updates!) David and I went to two really excellent exhibitions in London.  The first, “Scintilla: glittering speck”, by the artist Rebecca Hind is showing at Christ Church, Spitalfields until December (http://www.winsornewton.com/news/rebecca-hind).  Rebecca has painted a stunning watercolour triptych on the theme of Life-Death-Resurrection, and it will hang behind the altar there until December.  I loved the whole composition – the way the colours carried across the three panels, the way the flames seemed to leap upwards, and that the clouds looked real.  And how the paintings looked so right in the setting of a Hawkesmoor city church. (http://ccspitalfields.org/)

We then went to Lambeth Palace as I wanted to look again at the Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library exhibition which closes next Friday (http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/content/treasuresexhibition)  When I went the first time I spent ages looking at the intricate illuminations in some of the medieval books, enjoying especially the Lambeth Bible and the Chichele Breviary.  This time I stood for ages considering the manuscript draft of the translation of II Corinthians I for the KJV, the 400th anniversary of which we’ll be marking next year.  I thought about the time and effort that went in to getting this translation right, to being as faithful as possible to the original to create something that would build up the church, that would enable people to engage with the text of Scripture.  And I thought about how this has become in many ways as much a work of art as any of the manuscript illuminations, and which has inspired so much other literature and art, and nurtured the faith and spirituality of so many for the last four centuries.

Yesterday evening one of our parish fellowship groups met to discuss music and faith with Jonathan Arnold, Chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford, who was formerly a professional musician singing with, amongst others, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Sixteen.  Several people described the very different ways they engaged with music in worship, of the spiritual experiences reflected in music.  We thought also, and very interestingly, about the secularisation of sacred music, about the differences between performing and hearing music, and wondered together about the ways in which music might provide a space for God to take us by surprise.  I was taken by a quotation from a 2008 lecture by James MacMillan:

“In music, there seems to an umbilical link with the sacred.  Through the centuries, musicians have proved themselves to the midwives of faith, bringing their gifts to the historic challenge of inspiring the faithful in worship.”

I went away thinking – not just about music – but about the gifts we are given, ‘gifts of love to mind and sense’ as Vanstone put it, and how, inspired, we might use them to inspire, how by grace we might help make a space where others might encounter God.

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