Fresh Verbs

Where has aliveness happened?

Somewhere in our past, distantly / deliberately, new life happened. In all sorts of places, through all sorts of people, new things have sprung forth.

These new things were meaningful then. But the past doesn’t speak to the present without a bit of work…

“The nouns of art (the paintings, scores, recordings, information) are tombstones that mark locations where significant acts of aliveness once took place; they await fresh verbs (attention, personal connection, response, discovery) to bring them back to life.”

 (The Teaching Artist’s Bible by Eric Booth, p.40)

The past wants to speak to us. There are words of wisdom and life, locked away in a multitude of places, just waiting to be opened. They are ready to warn us, exhort us, console us, scold us. The past is holding out the right hand of fellowship, waiting, waiting… do we accept the dare to dive in?

All that’s needed are fresh verbs. All that is needed is a willingness to engage.

An encounter



Comments (2)

  • Hi Tommo – neat words
    I was talking to two people in The Village over the last few weeks – one, often quite resistant to change organised a very successful event celebrating an old English novel where people dressed up in the theme, held a tea party, and watched a black and white movie. I detect in this person a living in the past, and appreciate through what you have offered above, that for her, the past speaks into her present.
    Another person, a 13 year old, lives in the future. She is into robotics and quite understands that what she will study and probably have a PhD in doesn’t exist yet. For her, the future is calling into the present.
    I am trying to work out where I am. I listen deeply to what has been, the wisdom, the experiences, the mistakes…all scripture is, of course, from deep in the past. But I have noticed that the scriptures that resonate mostly with me are the ones that look to the past to inform the people of the now that there is a voice calling from the future. Choose life…slavery to freedom; Isaiah’s behold I am making a new thing & Ezekiels valley of dry bones…exile to restoration; and, thy kingdom come…Jesus’ assertion that we pray for a future coming into our present, calling from the future…
    So I find myself listening to the past expecting it to remind me of the voice calling me to what is next, the kingdom coming, to be experienced now and one day fully.
    Thanks for your prompting!

  • Hey Martin. Thanks. Great reply. I think it counts as part two to the post :)
    Amazing that this present moment somehow pulls from and depends upon strands of both past & future.
    I love how you put it: “the ones that look to the past … to inform the people of the now … that there is a voice calling from the future.” Tom

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