I loved the way Carys Walsh brought this poem into conversation with Psalm 139, which helped me to reflect differently on both the psalm and the poem.
“Was its part written?” asks Thomas, and it is a question which might also seem to be invited by Psalm 139, with its description of God who knows us before we are born, knows our words before we speak them. I am not a believer in a deterministic God (though I respect that many Christians are). I don’t read scripture as revealing a God who decides ahead of time what I will do or say, or who has a specific plan for my life that I have to follow. It seems to me that God is too wild and free for that kind of prescriptive scripting.
So I guess my answer to “Was its part written?” is “No”. The life of faith is, it seems to me, closer to an improv session than a published play. We are not given a script, but a space in which to develop the character we have been given, to make decisions, to discern what is true to who we are, to interact and accept the offerings of others, and allow them to shape us. God does not demand a polished performance, but delights in all our muddled, tentative, creative explorations. And knowing that, we are free to delight in the space and the self that God has given us.
This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading “Frequencies of God: walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas” by Carys Walsh. Join the conversation on Twitter using #AdventBookClub or on Facebook by searching for the group ‘Advent Book Club’.