“It’s the Sistine Chapel”, said a little girl, sitting near me in the pew last Sunday. She was gazing up at the ceiling of the sanctuary, that glorious burst of gold with the ‘YHWH’ in Hebrew script – the great I AM.
The difference between fact and fiction is a hot topic at the moment. From the controversy over whether something written on a bus in 2016 has led to Brexit or what is going on inside the White House, we are constantly bombarded with claim and counter claim about what is the truth and what is fake. At the same time, some writers are choosing to write ‘fiction’ to explore real stories. Hilary Mantel, the historical novelist said last year as part of her BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures that “Facts are not truth”. She also highlighted how fiction can explore what people in the past may have been thinking and feeling.
As Christians, we are of course seekers after truth. But Christ knew the power of fiction to reveal the truth. His stories are often what is best remembered about his teachings and have the power to help us to understand God’s love and how we can bring about his kingdom.
So was the little girl telling the truth? In a way, I think she was. For what is the Sistine Chapel if not a glorious representation of the beauty and wonder of God? Look up again above the altar and see for yourself.