Yesterday was a rainy day – a kids-off-school, cold-and-drizzly, practically-grim-November rainy kind of day. None of us could really settle into anything. There was lots of dumping toys out on the floor only to abandon them again and choose something new. There was lots of tidying up.
In the afternoon, Beangirl decided to make a cake. She chose one of my reliable recipes – something called New Year’s Pear Cake though we make it all year round and with whatever fruit we fancy. She decided apples sounded good and so did spices. Cinnamon and ginger because they are easy to measure. Cloves because she wanted to grind them with the mortar and pestle. Nutmeg because it smelled lovely and reminded her of her little cousin Meg.
I wasn’t to do anything. Just sit back and drink a cup of tea while she got on with the work. She is getting quite good with a paring knife. I’m working on letting her manage.
The cake was meant for sharing. Our friends K. and D. came by for dinner with their two little ones – a two-year-old daughter and a baby boy who is just beginning to crawl. My not-so-little ones love having them around, these little almost-cousins from our church.
We shared plates of pasta and stories and the kids escaped from the table as we talked and talked and listened to the rain falling on the kitchen roof. K. told us about how she spent a year in Florence as an undergraduate student. Lots of beautiful pasta, of course, but the best memory was an after-hours visit to the Sistine Chapel. With the room to themselves, the students lay on their backs to gaze up at the ceiling as their professor directed their gaze to this face and that, this feature, that fold of cloth. Five hundred year old faces and so much tender fresco paint. The ceiling is as busy as a comic strip, crowded with human forms in all manner of poses, and for centuries of artists who came after Michelangelo, this artwork became a textbook. It is theology As our kids built towers in the next room and we finished off the last of the pasta, K. remembered feeling so lucky to be allowed to have the time to look and look and learn.
The very centre of Michelangelo’s ceiling is, of course, the memorable space between the fingers of Adam and God. The whole work hangs on that moment of creation.
So God created humankind in his image,
In the image of God, he created them,
Male and female he created them.
God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful…”
A moment frozen in paint and time, and which moment is it? Just before creation, before the spark of life has been passed from Creator to Creature? Or just after? Is God pulling back, just a little, just enough to make space for Adam to come into life? His Creator gives him the freedom to act, to live, to choose. God makes space and time for humanity to be. Be fruitful. Blessed. Painting. Creating in whatever way we can. Making spaces for family and for friends, making piled plates of pasta, spiced apple cake and warm kitchens though the rain still falls. To be and be thankful. There is always space for that.