Hiroshima Day Poem – Hiroshima Day is designated as August 6th
This can be used as a responsive prayer As we remember holocaust, in horror disbelieving the history of the human race, we share each other’s grieving; God purge us of hypocrisy, of all our self-deceiving.
Our language is inadequate, unfit for the expression of hatred that we visualise, humanity’s confession; we hurry headlong into hell, we witness love’s regression.
The deepest, distant agony that throbs through all creation, the silent tears that quietly fall in every generation, are signs of our humanity, our need for re-creation.
God give us strength to make a pledge to move beyond contention, to see, in each, humanity. Through greater good intention, God, move us toward a purer love, a gracious intervention.
The Commonwealth was built more on the spread of the British Empire than sharing all things in common – wealth was not common but often taken by the rich from the poor. The Games, however, ideally, offer the opportunity for us to come together, hopefully, in a more equal way even if we still need to heal the hurt of colonialism.
1 A commonwealth of love where all are held by grace, it seems idyllic on the page, could it infect this place? Within that upper room were people just like us, but meeting Christ in faith and love transformed their depth of trust.
2 And when we meet with God we cannot but be changed, for God confronts our doubt and fear as lives are rearranged. This day the change begins, the vision is fulfilled, and life will never be the same where love can be distilled.
3 So let us grasp this hope that set the world alight, that love can never be destroyed and fear is put to flight. A commonwealth of love: let’s risk a seed of grace to bring this vision into life within each time and place.
I was reflecting on creation and climate change, global warming. Tablet art enabled me to produce fiery images.
This would not be impossible with watercolour but here I was able to swirl colour together. If anything went wrong I had the facility to erase and correct. With watercolour this is more difficult. In the first image I went to Genesis 1 for inspiration the image of the earth ‘without form and void’. Science, cosmology, art and the Bible enabled me to envisage creation as a conflagration, a ‘big bang’, with interrelated matter and energy being brought into being. But then, on reflection, planets condense to spherical, or near spherical, form and so the first image is that swirling orb, formless but seeking an equilibrium and at the centre of the void will be Earth…or…
Without form and void…
As scripture unfolds, epiphanies, revelations of the divine, ‘the Other’, are described. They take many forms. One such narrative again brings together matter and energy in an enigmatic spectacle with no matter being consumed within an evanescent fiery, burning bush. ‘The Other’ has no name, utters no words, yet converts, forms and inspires humanity to action.
The colour palette of the creation image was retained for a burning bush. The flaming fire was ‘painted first’. Different tools allow the colours to merge in a variety of ways. The merge can be smooth, watery, bubbled or perhaps rough edged. The bush was then lined in over the fire and the ground finished last.
Beyond the life of Christ, through incarnation and resurrection there is further revelation of the nature of God. Pentecost offers that image of fire again, with its contradictory character of energy, warmth and destruction, yet power and inspiration.
The fire was, again, painted first. The black, square blocks were formed using a template like a page frame but then filled using a fill tool that you may be familiar with in photo-editing software. The sky was similarly filled in, as it had been in the burning bush image. Subconsciously the colour I had chosen for this was very much reminiscent of some of David Hockney’s choice of pigments.
In the same way that scriptural and human inspiration interact in forming the images, paradoxically for humanity, that same divine presence of fire in creation and revelation offers humanity the capacity for self-destruction as global warming engulfs what might have been the ‘City of God’.
And is this the anticipated end of humanity? ‘Ashes to Ashes’? And is this the end, not just of each of us individually, but of all creation? Humanity’s knowledge, grasping the divine gift obliterates humanity itself while creation collapses back into the void from whence it came…
For the final image I used a copy tool to take the first image. I then used a sandpaper tool to scuff and scrape at the ‘surface’ of the image. I darkened it, mixing and merging colour to suggest, not just our planet, but creation returning to void and chaotic darkness.
Great God we need your present grace, for honesty’s been shaken. We need integrity and truth, enliven and awaken a seam of trust, a sense of faith, while life is so uncertain, the future hidden from our sight, opaque behind a curtain.
God give a calm and steady hand, unshackled by ambition, to challenge hatred and distrust, yet not employ derision. Give us the time to act and learn, to unify this nation, a place where all might live as one in spite of rank or station.
Is it too much for us to build in gracious love and living, a place to care, not built on greed, but generous in giving, where children grow in peace with hope, as sister and as brother, that, hand in hand, within this world we’ll live with one another. Metre: 8787D iambic Tune: CONSTANCE (Sullivan)