Unravelling or completing the picture?

The interaction of music and image is a powerful way of helping us reflect on significant moments in life.

How does it feel to be a parent watching your child; to fall in love; to witness the majesty of Creation? What is it like to wrestle with the break-up of relationships or the fact of death?

Manchester band James have released their 13th album La Petite Mort this week and, in a BBC Breakfast interview, they explained that it was the result of battling through tough times including family deaths. As a part of the interview we saw a clip from the video that goes with the single Moving On.



It’s a beautiful piece of animation, picturing the multi-layered hope and heartache of life’s endings and beginnings. It’s from BAFTA-nominated animator, writer and director Ainslie Henderson and provokes a number of questions.

The underlying imagery about death is that, as we near the end, everything unravels, no matter how much we try to hold it together. In the end we have to give in the inevitable: we have to let go and let it all fall apart. The film has a beautiful parallel of new life being “knit together” (Psalm139?) so that we are in life at the same time as we are in death.

But I’m left with a question … no bad thing there. Is death the unravelling of everything or actually the completion of part of our story?

As a Christian, my future hope is that there will be more than an unravelling when I draw my final breath. My reading of God’s promise in Jesus is that death completes what is being stitched together in my life to a pattern of God’s own design: death is not losing but winning. The victory of the cross is that Jesus went through death and emerged triumphant into a new life where what had appeared to have unravelled was actually reshaped into God’s extraordinary design … and the promise of a new design for every one of us.

As Dylan Thomas wrote: “Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.”


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