Wednesday 20 November 2013

Adam: starting at the very beginning

I am looking forward to being part of the launch this evening of a Spiritual Art exhibition at Silbury Gallery in MK, curated by my dear friend and brother Anouar Kassim. Last year we celebrated and explored Spirituality and Mathematics — this year Adam.

Adam, whom Muslims think of as the first prophet, is the beginning. He defines the global scope of all the Abrahamic faiths. We are all of one flesh and blood int he final analysis. This is why sectarianism is never enough.

Western Christians have so emphasised Genesis as a story about guilt, and perhaps missed the fact that it is more about shame, and flawed coming of age. Lose touch with this story and we lose touch with the tragic and paradoxical dimension of what it means to be human.

Thinking about what is distinctive about the Christian vision of Adam brings to mind a hymn from 100 Hymns for Today (1969) by a man called Richard G. Jones. The language is that of forty years ago, but I'm sorry it has consistently failed to make it into hymnbooks since — especially if it implies the English are just too Pelagian for this kind of thing. I hope not.

God who created this Eden of Earth,
Giving to Adam and Eve their fresh birth,
What have we done with that wonderful tree
Lord forgive Adam, for Adam is me.

Adam ambitious desires to be wise,
casts out obedience and lusts with his eyes,
Grasps his sweet fruit, "as God I shall be"
Lord forgive Adam, for Adam is me.

Thirst after power is the sin of my shame,
Pride's ruthless thrust after status and fame,
Turning and stealing and cowering from thee,
Lord forgive Adam, for Adam is me.

Cursed is the earth through this cancerous crime,
Symbol of man through all passage of time,
Put it all right, Lord, let Adam be free:
Lord forgive Adam, for Adam is me.

Glory to God! What is this that I see?
Man made anew, second Adam is he,
Bleeding his love on another fine tree,
Lord forgive Adam, for Adam is me.

Rises that Adam the Master of death,
Pours out his spirit in glorious new breath;
Sheer Liberation! with him I am free!
Lives Second Adam, in mercy, in me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the comment about our the shared role of Adam reminding us that we are of the same "flesh and blood". If only more of us- Christian and Muslim alike- remembered this!

Incidentally, Richard G Jones was President of the Methodist Conference back in the 1980s and has continued to be a thoughtful, liberal-minded influence on the Church ever since.

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