Yesterday morning as we explored the story of Philip from Acts 8, the creative option was to cover a gift box (of assorted shapes) with parts of old maps. The photo shows my prototype, made with part of a VERY old map of London that has sat at the back of a cupboard for around 30 years, and was already at least 20 years old by then.
On the edge of the lid, though not visible in the photo, is North Middlesex Hospital, where I was born, and Wood Green where my parents lived briefly around that time. Other areas of London significant to my story are not there - those parts of the map were SO shabby that I shose not to use them.
A little box into which I could place, if I chose, small items that are in some way meaningful for me. I kind of treasure box or memory box perhaps. Or a gift box, into which I could place some carefully chosen token for another person.
A bit of a tenuous link with the avenue of exploration, which was that nothing and no-one is beyond the scope of God's redemptive love. No situation and no person is too distant, too depraved, too dreadful for God to bring hope and love.
Which sort of connects with our evening service reflections which I rather grandly subtitled "Faith, Hope and Love in Apophatic Perspectives". The apophatic tradition, the theological 'via negativa' of saying what God is not, is often associated with the 'Dark Night of the Soul', though I chose to tweak this to 'Within Our Darkest Night' recognising that tragedy, illness, relationship breakdown, loss of a job or other personal circumstances can prove very dark times.
I spoke about what faith is not - not proof, not certainty, not guarantee - as well as what it might be
I spoke about what hope is not - not wishful thinking, not denial, not unrealistic - as well as what it might be
I spoke about what love is not - not selfish or boastful or proud (thank you St Paul), not (just) warm fuzzy, not always getting it right (Job's comforters got an honourable mention), not easy to define - as well as what it might be.
Overall the two services went well, and were each graciously received.
Tiring - I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow - but in a very good way.