Saturday 27th March 2021

Day 39 God of the Gaps

God is not only ‘God of the dirt’, but also ‘God of the gaps.’ This was a phrase originally coined by theologians in an attempt at proof of God. The argument being that there is so much science cannot explain, so it can only be down to God. In other words God fills in the gaps that science cannot fill, and hence must exist. Not a great argument in my opinion, and one that has been ridiculed by scientists and some aggressive atheists. The God of the gaps I am writing about is very different from this.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than walking down the street and seeing flowers, plants, and weeds forcing themselves through concrete, gaps in walls and pavements, and many neglected places. Car parks, railway sidings, driveways, central reservations on the motorway, are also among places where nature will not be kept down, and keeps fighting back. Buildings that have been empty for some time, and neglected landscape, such as land fill, are soon reclaimed by natures force, power and beauty. For me, there is not a more beautiful sight on the planet. These places often become home not only to many wild plants and flowers, but also to much wildlife as well, who take full advantage of humanity’s neglect and absence. The God of dirt often makes herself known to us through these situations, and thus becomes the God of gaps as well.
Nature is extraordinary. It is wonderful to commune with her in woods, meadows, riverbanks, and the likes, but we urban dwellers do not have to go very far to be confronted by her wonder. A walk down any street and she will reveal herself to us, reach out to us, and seek our attention.
God is in the gaps of even the most ugly of places. Beauty will not give up on us even when we do our best to squash her.
The same is true of our daily lives. When things are good and we feel positive, we easily become aware of God’s presence in life, and the beauty of holiness. But when we go through difficult times, when sorrow is our companion for a while on life’s journey, our God of gaps always finds a way to reach us, encourage us and lift us. In the most painful circumstances there are gaps where God shines. Watch out for them.

Matthew 13 (Paraphrased)

Some seed fell along the path, some among thorns;
others in rocky places where the soil was shallow,
and the seed sprung up quickly.

I could have listened for ever
To that beautiful song
Ringing out from the wasteland
By the cemetery wall.
Melodic verse of various repetition
Exploring his repertoire
Perhaps adding more.
The voice of the Song Thrush
Welcoming the sunrise
Opening my heart
Opening the door.

Phil Beer

One of my favourite Nature sightings was the report of a Nightingale in the bushes at Reading services on the M4 motorway. We may not have heard it sing but it was a reminder to us all about the neglected value of scrub. Scrub is what you find on waste ground, in the field margins, the railways line or tip. It’s an in-between thing. It doesn’t fit into the neat boxes we like to apply. It’s not neat and straight enough for a hedge and certainly not statuesque enough to be called ‘woodland’….. That Nightingale was singing us a lesson about the errors of tidiness. Far from being common place and unimportant, it turns out that ‘in-between’ spaces – grassland with thorns; edges and fringes – are some of the most important of all.