Mary and I are rejoicing at the moment in the beauty of a fuchsia, set on the patio table so that we can enjoy it the more through the windows of the dining area. It overwintered in the garage, where I feared it had died; it did not get the regular monthly watering it needed, but was offered that sustenance only when I remembered. I brought it out again this spring, more in hope than expectation, pruned it, watered it, and watched it thrive, to the point where it has hundreds of white pink and purple flowers, and masses of green foliage.
These thoughts are prompted by my reading this week; Julian Barnes' 2008 family memoir cum discourse on the fear of dying- 'Nothing to be afraid of''. Death and dying without benefit of faith. It has set many hares running in my head, but it makes a number of unchallenged assumptions about the faith which. for a man of such intelligence and perception (his novels are finely judged and shaded) are tired and illogical. The death of the church and the Christian faith is confidently assumed- hence my reference to the fuchsia.
It displays a metropolitan mind-set which I fear is widely accepted. The plaudits from the reviews, splashed across the inside covers, all seem to inhabit that world where faith, where Christianity as a living breathing entity, cannot be taken seriously. Where, if I asserted that within this living, breathing life of Christ I have experienced something of 'life in all its fullness' (Jesus' own words), I would be met by a blank, uncomprehending stare, possibly a response that I was sadly deluded.
Nevertheless, life in all its fullness is what is on offer; 'the glory of God is a man fully alive' as Irenaus has it. And enjoy the glory of the fuchsia, fully alive. I shall continue to read Barnes, but continue also to want more of the abundant life, the torrents of pleasure (St Bonaventure) which my life in Christ has brought me thus far.