Water - Dwelling Spaces

Saturday, 19 March 2016


On Thursday I visited Winchester Cathedral for the first time. In the crypt there is a sculpture by Antony Gormley which, depending on the level of flooding from the river, looks like it is standing in or on the water. The figure is looking at water in its hand, and the combination of seeing that and the burial casket of King Canute made me think... 

I liked the story of King Canute as a child. Although considered to be apocryphal it is profoundly important. Canute is reported as having his throne set in front of the incoming tide and commanding the water to come no further. Of course it continued and covered his feet and wet his robes. We don't often hear the rest of the story which was him turning to his courtiers and saying: 'Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth and sea obey.' He knew that only God is the one who holds true power and authority over all creation. However much power and authority a human being has, it is nothing compared to that of God. And so the story goes Canute understood that his kingship was in service of the King of Kings. There is a lot to learn from his example!

Jesus could command the storm to cease and the waves to still. He has the power and authority to command all creation to obey Him. And yet what does He do for us? He comes to wash our feet and die so we might live. He calls us into a relationship of mercy, forgiveness and love. This is the power of the cross, the wisdom of God which seems so foolish to us because we want to grab power and hold control over others.

So taking time to look at a handful of water and realise who I am and who God is, seems a wise thing to do.

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