The Bishop of Beverley, Stephen Race, writes:

Ancient and Modern

Recently I made my first ever visit to Portugal for a short holiday on the Algarve coast.

While there, my wife and I stumbled upon a music festival taking place on a nearby beach, and I was introduced to the music of the Swiss DJ and record producer Yves Lerock. I gather I’m about 20 years behind the curve with this and although his music may not be my first choice, there was something infectious about the enthusiasm of the crowd made of people of all ages – babes in arms to grandparents – dancing in the sand and having a wonderful evening in a very modern way.

Standing there, I couldn’t help but notice the cliffs that formed the backdrop to the festival: the cliffs that are a striking feature of that coastline. A quick Google search told me that they are at least 25 million years old, made up of rock formed between 252 and 66 million years ago. What was fascinating about the rocks, apart from their breathtaking beauty, was the abundance of ancient shells contained within them, all slowly making their appearance after millennia hidden away.

While listening to 21st century music, I could touch something millions of years old.

We adhere to a faith that is a little over 2000 years old. In the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing at all, and yet we believe and proclaim that the Jesus Moment in history is pivotal. That suggestion is as mind-blowing as touching or holding a 25-million-year-old shell, or was it 252 million years old?

However, as Christians it is something we hold onto dearly and we must continue to hold onto it. Jesus may have been Incarnate for an incredibly brief moment in time, but all that he said, did and represented conveyed and conveys something that is eternal – present even before the most ancient landforms came into being and to be present long after they have disappeared. We belong to someone who is beyond our imagination.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life.” John 1 v 1-4 .

+ Stephen

See previous letters to the Saints of the Diocese of York