Wednesday 24 March 2010

sedimentary spirituality: from weathering life to the bedrock of faith

river hull showing thick layer of sediment

As the tide ebbs in the estuary the river reveals the muddy truth of its channel. Great banks of sludgy sediment, feet thick and sculpted by the current, deter all but the most curious or foolhardy from descending the iron ladder to explore their pungent and glutinous depths.

But we should at least look on the grey-brown gloop with respect. Here history is deposited at our feet. The grains and particles of sediment were weathered and eroded from landscapes near and far, each with their own story. Once they would have been part of rock, gravel, sand or soil. Sunshine, rain, wind, ice and flowing water wrenched them away to rest here for a while. Perhaps in time to come they will be reformed into solid rock again by geology’s hidden processes of genesis. For now they spend much of the time submerged and out of sight.

As a spiritual parable  we can find our own truth here too. All of those experiences, relationships and memories which have shaped our identity are like sediment which is hidden beneath the surface of our life. They steadily accumulate and at times of ebb and low tide are revealed to the world. The unwary can be trapped in their depths and held fast. But it is out of such muddy realities that the bedrock of faith is made. Deep down in our soul, in that place where the pressures of life and the sheer immensity of God’s love come to bear, we are transformed and the hard rock of faith and trust arises. Such is the unseen miracle of grace which tells the truth of resurrection’s timeless process.

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