This film features the wonderful Michael Rosen reading his equally wonderful "We're Going on A Bear Hunt", one of the twins' favourite books. She can recite the entire book, word perfect! Have a listen, it's a joy to watch, truly!
I was offering the Sacred Mysteries the other day and for various reasons opted for Common Worship Eucharistic Prayer A. I have recited this prayer on many occasions, but until this week hadn't noticed the stress on the idea of something being through something else. As it struck me, Michael Rosen wasn't far behind with this rather catchy story - you can't go over it; you can't go under it; you gotta go through it.
In the Eucharistic Prayer to which I refer, there are three ways in which we focus on this notion of "through". First is God, present "through" Jesus, the next being our redemption "through" Jesus' earthly existence and thirdly, our place as adopted children in God's Kingdom "through" Jesus. This could (and had done to me until this week) seem like a semantic nicety, and thereby missing the point completely.
Michael Rosen demonstrates well that "through" is a committed pathway to take. Under or over is about bypassing something, not engaging with it. "Through" is also the hardest pathway to take. We weren't redeemed alongside Jesus' sacrifice. We haven't been adopted despite or in association with the person of Jesus. God isn't present with us in a kind of happy double-act. These things happen "through" Jesus and the importance of the visual aspect of that are significant too. "Through" is evocative of something pierced, something broken, something smashed - with risks to us who do the passing through. In the moment when we are passing "through" we are wholly consumed, surrounded. No evasion, so circumlocution, no bush-beating - just a committed act.
What is implicit in Rosen's story and perhaps more explicit in the Eucharistic Prayer (once I got it) is that a journey that passes through something else is more meaningful. When the risk is confronted and the destination reached, it is a journey that can imply success over adversity or, in the case of the prayer, a journey the cleanses and saves, not simply a pleasant excursion.