It was a privilege this afternoon to welcome Antony Gormley to St John’s Church in the heart of the city centre in Peterborough for a celebration of the installation of his three sculptures ‘Places to Be’. These have been placed on top of buildings around the church and the invitation to everyone is to #LookUp. They are casts of his own body, made of sheet lead on a fibreglass shell. They explore what it means to be, to be in a space and to be a space of dwelling – not least around the church, to be a place where the Spirit of God dwells, inspires and fills with grace.
There are three poses – one embracing the sky, even the cosmos. One looking out to see what can be seen and wonder. One on the move, walking to a destination, but on a journey. Three ways of being – embracing, looking, moving.
We are each a place to be a person – created, loved and redeemed by God. Far more than just a thing, we are places where the image of God dwells.
The tagline #LookUp is both practical, you need to look up to see them on the skyline, and also metaphorical. They raise our sights and thoughts are we have to look from where we are to where they are and beyond them, even through them. We have to look up from our phones and take notice.
As is our custom in the church the celebration was begun with a prayer and this is the prayer I wrote this morning to reflect on ‘Places to Be’, being created in the image of God, looking up and God’s Spirit inspiring. It is my reflective response to these wonderful works of art in the city centre.
God of wonder,
as we lift our gaze
so may we find our hearts raised
to delight in the beauty of your creation,
the hope in Jesus Christ
and become a place to be
where your Spirit dwells;
to honour your image in one another;
to the glory of the Father. Amen.
© Ian Black 2018