Friday, 18 March 2016

Supper's Ready: Lover's Leap - Thin Places

Let us ask ourselves that all important question. Just how thin does a thin place have to be, to qualify as truly thin?

And what do we measure thinness in? Should we use earthly units? And if so would they be units of distance - or maybe units of time?

I would like to propose, since it was his feast day yesterday, that we adopt a new SI unit of spiritual thinness and we call it after St Joseph of Arimathea, frequent visitor to that thinnest of old Albion's thin places, Glastonbury Tor. The "Joseph" is henceforth defined as the spiritual thinness of an English churchyard on a warm summer evening.

On this basis, the Rollright Stones would be about 3 Josephs - for spiritual power increases with thinness. Stonehenge about a quarter of  a Joseph (which has increased since they moved the car park). And standing in a circle holding hands while playing Celtic New Age music can generate a thinness field of about half a Joseph per second per second. Or 0.5 milliEnyas.

Of course, thinness declines on an exponential scale. So although the thinness in the Moot House, a strong thinness generator, is quite high - by the time you've got across to the White Horse on an evening when Burton, Hnaef and Keith have gone out for a few jars, there's quite a lot of thickness about.

And so Peter Gabriel, home from a few months away dressing up as a moth, looks at his wife and is overwhelmed by thinness.
Coming closer with our eyes, a distance falls around our bodies.
Out in the garden, the moon seems very bright,
Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly.
The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand.
...And it's hey babe your supper's waiting for you.
Hey my baby, don't you know our love is true.
There's nothing special about the Gabriel residence. And it's just night time. And maybe they're just tired.

And they see a vision with no obvious meaning - the numbers are all wrong. Not three saintly men, or eleven or maybe twelve? But six?

But a spiritual experience of whatever meaning is what they have.

 And if we take the man at the front as whom you'd imagine, with his cross held high - or even if he's just the crucifer from the local church, got lost on his way to Mass - then those following behind are already dead, in their shrouds - dead to themselves or dead to the world? But as they follow the cross, there's only place they are heading.

Jerusalem. The place where heaven really did meet earth, and God hit earth with a thump. And then rose back up, with the earth lifted up instead of the cross.

The  closeness of God is maybe not definable by the place you are in. Is a cathedral really closer to God than a warehouse? Could a motorway service station stand at the foot of a ladder to heaven? Are we really closer, to the one in whom we live and move and have our being, in a garden than in a biscuit factory or a supermarket?

There are no thin places really.

As a matter of fact, it's all thin.


  1. I see.... you're going to serialise Genesis's magnum opus. BTW, nice reference to Dark Side of the Moon.

    No more comments from me for the foreseeable future. I think I've monopolised the airwaves enough!

  2. talking of biscuit factories, there's one in Newcastle, has this church next door


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