I hope that you have had the opportunity to spend some time reflecting on Fiona Tan’s two channel video installation Saint Sebastian, 2001 - currently found in The Old St George’s Chapel as part of Going Public Sheffield. The piece explores with both simplicity and detail a key moment of transformation in the life of a group of Japanese women.
As the arrows fire from their bows the women move from adolescence to adulthood. It is a moment of deep transformation. The women show different emotions in their facial expression (or at least in so far as it is possible to read). For some there is a look of surprise or relief, for others a moment of deep reflection. For some a still and slightly sad moment of realisation. Each of the women approach the moment of releasing the arrow with clear and profound expectation that as this symbol of transformation is played out their lives will change forever.
As we gather in the Cathedral each day for the Eucharist, and particularly on a Sunday morning, we are reminded that the journey we travel through the liturgy invites us to be open to be transformed by God’s love and grace. As we leave the gathered celebration we are renewed in our vocation and strengthened in our mission. Perhaps we might reflect on how much we expect that change and transformation to be real for us today and to ask whether, as we approach our encounter with Christ in word and sacrament, we are open to change and to being changed. Although we repeat what we do day after day it is clear that each encounter is a moment of challenge, change and opportunity.
Canon Christopher Burke