Friday, 5 August 2016

God is Really Quite Big

Came to me as we poured out beakers just now.

According to Beaker lore, night air is good air. I picked this idea up from my mentor, St Sue of Middlesbrough. I suspect her views, in turn, were formed by her experiences in 1970s Teeside, when there was slightly less chance that the smoke factories would be chucking out pollution at that time.

So we allow the holy beakers, filled with purest water from the Hus Bourne (n. b. - do not drink) to receive the goodness that pours down like God's mercy all night. And then in the morning we pour the waters out upon the ground, representing God's blessing. The ceremonies have the advantage of feeling vaguely pagan, without having anything you could put your finger on and get burnt as a witch for.

But as we poured it out, it struck me that water's incredible stuff, isn't it? Its polarity means that its atoms stick together - just enough for it to flow, when you pour it but not so much that it comes out of the Holy Beaker in a solid chunk. Except in the middle of winter, when we redefine the ritual as Chipping Out of Beakers.

Its polar nature means it is a liquid at temperatures much lower than organic molecules of the same weight. And it is a great solvent for salts - giving it the ability to carry calcium, the raw material of shells and skeletons. It dissolves carbon dioxide too - weakly  - and oxygen- bringing those other key materials into the seas that formed the womb of earth's life.

And also, in the right conditions, if you're rowing or dabbling around with the washing up or beside a river - it can run right up your arm. How does it do that?

And I'm not saying water is any kind of evidence of the existence of God. But I will say that, assuming there is a God, the thought that God could dream up water is an indicator of the fertile, diverse, creative God we have.

Water that can destroy an army, can pour over someone to wash them, can drag them down or bear them up. The thing that carries the fuel of our lives around our bodies - or pour out of a broken heart.

And when I imagine the Earth hanging, blue and beautiful with its seas like a water-drop in God's imagination, before God scattered its raw materials across the universe through the death of uncountable stars I have to face facts.

The God whom we create in our imaginations, who backs up our prejudices and approves of our flaws - or the God who nit-picks at our weaknesses - is really quite small.

And God, it seems to me, is really quite big.


  1. Ohhhhhh! That's really lovely, Archdruid Eileen. And that's coming from someone who loathes 'My God is a great big God' because the tune is too cheesy. But its message is true (rather depressingly from a musical perspective).

  2. I feel an Emma Gash worship song coming on...


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