Elemental

Photo by Chris Meads on Unsplash We are made of the elements. Earth, water, air. Our bodies are composed of bone and blood and water. We are trapped in time, like the calcified skeletons of ancient sea-creatures. We can’t move forwards in time or move back, until somebody invents time-travel, which seems impossible due to the physics. Time marches on, like the sea eroding the ancient sandstone cliffs, like the waves that erase our footprints from the silver sand. But our words and our stories can capture moments in time and our readers can travel back in time or forwards to an impossible future … or to other worlds. We are of the elements. The hills above Lyme Bay – Black Venn, Stonebarrow Hill and Golden Cap – were here before my ancestors arrived in Britain and they will be here after I’m gone, and yet these hills also bear the scars of erosion, the relentless passage of time. Swimming in the silvery-blue sea, immersed in its cold embrace, I am water, I am air, I am earth-born. One day my body, so vibrant now, will turn to dust. The planet turns and the hills endure. Like the animals, we are of this earth, but unlike the animals, we fret about the passage of time. Yet we have also been made ‘a little lower than the angels’. We are creatures who can sing, dance, play, think, plan, analyse, create and achieve the impossible. We are more than bone and water, our spirits are not tied to the elements, and within us lies the divine spark, the Imago Dei, which means that our spirits, the essence of all that we are, will outlast even rock and sand and sea, and our souls can soar into unimaginable spaces. Children of earth, we can be born again. After we have passed on, our words might well last too. Our words will be part of our legacy. Our words, both written and spoken, will be what helped to make our little corner of the world, our chosen portion of time, just a little bit better. And yet our final destination is not to be disembodied spirits. We will have resurrection bodies. We will be what we were always meant to be. The Earth, too, will be what it was always meant to be – renewed and restored. We are creatures of earth and air, we are bodies and spirits, and we will be made new. Our writing can reflect that glorious hope. Our writing can give people a foretaste of heaven, of all things renewed. As Christian writers, we are qualified to write about life’s shadows, the sadness of mortality, because we know what lies beyond … and also what lies within – the promise of eternal life, and the blessedness of life in all its fullness. As writers, we have a unique gift to share these gifts of light and love and hope with a groaning world. I am an administrator for the United Reformed Church in their education and learning office and also a lay preacher in the Church of England. I wrote a devotional for the anthology ‘Light for the Writer’s Soul’, published by Media Associates International, and my short story ‘Magnificat’ appears in the ACW Christmas Anthology ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’.
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