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Another Place Reflection by Linda Hopkins

Ebb and flow - a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and re-growth.

Read John 21: 1-19

Another Place

Along the beach ‘at the end of the road’ of the house where I grew up in Sefton, Merseyside and half a mile from our church building is the art installation Another Place.  100 cast iron figures of artist Antony Gormley set at various intervals along the tide line for approximately 2 miles on Crosby beach all looking out to sea.  They were a cause of controversy when, originally, they were to stay for a year.  The local council and various groups lobbied for them to stay permanently, whilst some locals couldn’t see what all the fuss was about and wondered why people would want them there.  Some think they’re rude: the nakedness. Others think they are a health and safety hazard.  Many love them, including me!

Catch them at different times of day and they’re completely different.  Sometimes submerged, or head only just visible in the water, sometimes standing still amidst unforgiving crashing waves.  Others are high above the sands, their plinths in view as the sand erodes beneath them.  Others covered, belly deep in the sandbanks.  Barnacled, dressed-up in clothing, yarn bombed. Worn, rusted, reflecting different light. Mysterious, odd, and disturbingly naked; human.  

And fellow humans interact with them, as they, the figures, interact with their surroundings; a shipping lane from the city in this otherwise ordinary suburb out to the Irish Sea.

The purpose of the sculpture for Gormley is about human interaction with the elements, how the ebb and flow of the tides and the physical elements impact this peculiar body (as he calls it).  And there is no romanticism here. Gormley says of the sculpture, ‘it is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.’

I invite you to reflect on this other encounter on the beach of a particular and peculiar unique body of the risen Jesus; the encounter of nature – fish and lots of them, for the disciples.  And the ebb and flow, the coming and going, the new and the old, that which needs to die and that which is a sign of re-growth…and reflect too on what it means to be human and a follower in an ever-changing environment.  

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