Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Teddy was not much use on the turbine floor

Most of us have sources of comfort: late Dad's tatty old jumper, shoes that are nearly worn out, a chair that fits without fighting cushions, and so on. As a child teddy often reigns supreme, perhaps an eye missing, and rather moth-eaten but loved.


Imagine though taking teddy to your work place. I certainly craved comfort when leaving school to work at Poole Power Station. I loved it, but felt like a little boy in an adult world ~ experience takes time, and I had only been there five minutes. Cuddling teddy would have been childish, acutely embarrassing, and belittling. I needed to stand on my own two feet, and wink at teddy when I got back to the privacy of home.

Having a teddy bear faith can express the importance of comfort, but if that's all then we're stuck in childhood. Our faith needs to constantly evolve. It may be that there's some experience we've never known; how will faith cope with this new challenge? If we have a take it or leave it attitude to beliefs, we might be forced to give things up.

If on the other hands we enjoy the idea of modelling faith, then questions and challenges are welcome because they stimulate growth. Christianity does not shy away from trauma. At its heart is a symbol where love and suffering intertwine. Love always costs us, and the scars we bare are a privilege. The cross is a simple logo based on a Roman gallows, and it is also a symbol of amazing love.

cross in Church Rooms' foyer

That's why wearing a cross at work, in the pub, anywhere is entirely appropriate. It's not to be forced on others, as if beating them over the head. No, it should gently speak of God's love which is far stronger than death.

Some fun symbols appeal to the child in us, and express deep truths. For example, confetti showered over a newly married couple is part of the celebration, and it can be a picture of prayer that the marriage is also showered with God's blessing.

Many things are beyond words, and need music, art, symbols to help convey their power. Jesus blessed a marriage, asked us to use water to baptise followers, and to remember his costly gift of love by holy communion using bread and wine.

May God give us his comfort and his peace, his light and his joy, in this world and the next.