Land, place, people and time

I think we all love to have some measure of understanding: to have a perspective on ‘why?’ Maybe some are happy with ‘random’ as the explanation but I have not been content with that response. Theists and, I guess, scientists want an answer. I cannot comment on the latter set of people and with regard to the former I distance myself from those who resort to something along the lines of ‘God is in control’ in the sense of controlling all things. Maybe better to think of something like a chess game, where the ‘master chess’ player responds to every move that is made… make that into billions years of history and seemingly continual damaging ‘plays’ by human figures and the God that is presented is more than a static ‘unmoved mover’ but so much wiser and innovative than anyone can imagine. I say billions of years as that seems to be where scientists take us, and who am I to argue, and then if I stick an amateur theologian hat on I have to probably go to an eternal creation / eternal creations – otherwise the concept of ‘time’ is difficult to work with and one has to posit in some way a Creator God who was at some time not creating???? OK… early in the morning here but I do have a cup of coffee by my side.

Leaving all the above behind I have been thinking about the four elements in the title for some time. Maybe just in my inadequate search to find meaning… but I think however inadequate it is my search to find some sight on what are we supposed to do to co-operate in the invitation from the ‘chess master’ to be freshly positioned. The invitation always is from love and the invitation is to co-operate… to not be disobedient to the heavenly vision so that the grace of God toward us is not in vain. [A chess game might not be a good analogy as it is too small to illustrate cosmic movements and in a chess game the pieces are inanimate and do not determine the outcome of the game… but if we imagine a major, MAJOR, chess game and some very stupid self-willed pieces that are continually making the completion of the game look totally impossible, we might then have something that looks like our world.]

Land… what is all around and under us. Land that we are related to – from the dust of the ground bizzarely pushes us toward ‘mother earth’ (toward). Land that we are alienated from; land that is brutally affected by our sin, sin being that failure to be human in the sense of calling. It is not surprising that Scripture with its 1200 references to land has a theme of ‘the land being cursed / blessed because of you’, and in a global era there are theological aspects to our global land crises.

Land holds the corporate memory, and if that be true imagine what is remembered, the layers that have built up one on another. Can the land have its memory healed? Imagine that. God ‘imagines’ that and we are invited to as well, to participate with the God who makes all things new (not whose end goal is to make all new things).

More to come… but how about this image of the ‘keynsham clock’ that was put up to reflect the history of the town. The distortion of the hands that took place a few days ago are a mystery and they are going to be fixed… The clock might be fixed, but history and time? Distortions methinks.

2 thoughts on “Land, place, people and time

  1. Love your analogy of a chess game with some very stupid self willed pieces messing things up. Hmm…seems I might have been one of those pieces on a few occasions.

  2. Thanks Martin for your timely post. I’ve been reading the news too much and just beginning to wonder what on earth I’m doing in a Landscape Architecture department where we look at land and how to restore, create new, make plans at regional and local scales and so on when it looks like such a dire forecast in terms of climate and politics. I was beginning to wonder if any plans would just end up obliterated one way or another. It’s the push I need to rest over the summer and then press on to encourage the next generation to think big and make real changes to those layers.

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