This one is for the artistic Hermiones out there (gold stars awarded).

Please discuss the following photo in relation to today’s sermon in Dunoon. Those of you from elsewhere, please discuss feely in relation to Ascension, Salvation, Deification, or the phraseology of Newton’s third law of motion.

Go on. Show off.

thermometer at Sigtuna Foundation

22 thoughts on “Ascensiontide”

  1. The question which Kimberly raises, is whether Eastern principles of mutuality in the spiritual realm (yin and yang, wu-wei etc) will more naturally find their expression in Western religious traditions, founded on the hierarchies of repressive sovereignty endemic in Christian soteriology or in Western Science in its emphasis on observation and its apparently provisional acceptance of paradox.

    In relating such isses to the photograph, she encourages us to pray with the question, Can the Circle be Unbroken, by and by, by and by?

    This in itself raises the further question: Does Newton’s third law imply that the awarding of Gold Stars to some will mean their removal from others? Is justice immutable? Is the quality of mercy strained?

  2. We have lost the Harrowing of Hell from modern theology. I think that that carried with it the idea that descent into the depths brings with it a force that can be released up, up – Christ’s death in agony brings a victory that lets him go to hell, and to overmaster it, and to stride like a giant through its narrow streets, dragging out the poor and suffering souls who are trapped in endless negativity, souls which have the potential to be good and noble but are pro tem. lost.

    His descent into hell is of course balanced by his ascension into heaven. The cost of one buys the release into the other. The pendulum swings.

    But if Kimberly’s thermometer is right, the release from the bulb of Hades can take us up to a greater height, (in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, symbolised at the top) that the depth from which we are released, thus defying Newton’s equal reaction.

  3. Oh dear. Your other commenters are way too clever for me today – though I have just written up the sermon for the paper. I’ll concentrate on the figures beyond the window: the poor souls who do not think that Christ was fully human. They lurk sadly, unredeemed, in a glassed-in limbo beyond the symbols of redemption – but they don’t realise that they are there, because they think they are correct. They are beyond the reaches of reaction, equal and opposite or anything else, because they have not grasped the truth that one can be liberated.

    Oh – and they still think a dark suit is de rigeur for anything to do with religion.


  4. OK, timid creatures. The alpha-gender-irrelevants have tromped through the forest. Your turn now. (though there are other alpha’s yet to arrive, of course.)

    Chris, the image to which you refer is not behind the window, but reflected in it. Someone who is ahead of us on the Way? on the ascent??

    Keep going clever ones. No gold stars till all entries are in.

  5. Still in holiday mode. Pink and apricot are sunrise colours. Christ ascending in a blaze of glory with the rising of the sun. Given the conjunction of Ascension and Beltane this year, I read the sunrise colours as a sign of Christian and Pagan syncretism (the green suggesting the beginning of summer).

  6. Kelvin, you’ve given us words and music. Are you going to go for a hat-trick?

    I do wish I taken a photo of the ceiling of the displaced-lady chapel in Uppsala cathedral. I can sense an enthronement ritual coming on, and the canopy of blue and gold would have been handy.

  7. Would you be willing to email me a copy of your homily? I can see that this might be more entertaining than my exegesis paper!

  8. Not artistic at all, sorry, nor even a Hermione, but here’s my tuppenceworth:

    It looks to me as if the part of the window shown is an arc of a circle and the glowing, warm terracotta wall surrounds it. The window shows us in our diverse humanities, surrounded by God’s kingdom in all its pure, glowing beauty. But in the picture, only part of the window is shown. Perhaps that’s the part of ourselves we think is worthy to give to God, keeping the rest hidden. The scale shows that God has more love to share than we have humanity to give. Stepping back to give God the full picture of our humanity would reveal that God’s full divinity surrounds us.

    Ascension seems the wrong word for my model though. Oh well. Maybe I can re-name it Expansion.

  9. Heh guys! Kelvin sent me over…

    I’m not sure that I like terracotta. Bit too peachy for me. In fact, I really don’t like it. In fact, it is making my temperature rise.

    There! Done it. Ta-da!

  10. Well, you did ask us to show off.

    Lest anyone be puzzled by my comment, I suppose I could add that it might be unravelled by meditating on the suggestion of Heroclitus that the way up and the way down are both the same.

    (which is either the subtext or anti-text to all our Ascensiontide preaching, isn’t it?)

    So very much is a reflection on that suggestion when you think about it.

    PS – a dark suit is still de rigeur for anything to do with religion. No e-mails have gone out suggesting anything to the contrary.

  11. Kelvin – Showing off again? Missed the Cope of Glory being used this weekend as I was away; and it will be surplanted by the little (or not so little) red number next weekend.

  12. ‘Your Grace, your achievement in re-uniting the disparate elements in the Anglican church has been widely admired, and many leaders of other denominations have spoken openly of their amazement of the smooth way you have been accepted as the first female ABC – would you care to comment on the record on how you arrived at this happy position?’

    ‘Gold stars.’

  13. Goodness me, I need a dictionary beside me when I read the comments! However for what its worth Newtons Laws don’t always work and I’m beginning to get a glimmer of theology in quantum physics with all its paradox.
    The relection is just that, surely? Change the angle of view and you change the reflection.

    As a matter of interest, how large is the thermometer?

  14. Excellent. I look forward to hearing more about God and quantum physics. I was reading about string theory last night. (and also pondering just why I could never set the mirrors up right to make the laser hit the target when I was at school. Clearly either concept or precision was lacking.)

    The thermometer was about 22 inches, maybe more. You’re on your own in metric. Does that detail help or hinder your belief in Divine Presence?

  15. 560mm or thereabouts. The larger something is the better to see/understand it from a distance, or you notice it for the first time from far off?

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