Monday, 18 July 2016

A Distant God and a Domestic Religion

I was thinking about the Five Knolls, those Beaker burial mounds up above Dunstable, looking across the Vale of Aylesbury.

Today they're the sort of heritage site the Beaker Folk like - rustic, quiet, decayed and - of course - largely raided by the archaeologists of a previous generation.

And they're kind of eerie in the setting sun of a summer evening. Much as the Rollright Stones combine the domestic with the awe-ful. All the stories of the old days come back to you, and the faerie folk gather round,  near yet as insubstantial as moths.

But imagine what round barrows looked like when they were new. Not covered in gentle Bedfordshire turf and orchids. But shining brilliant white against the green of the Downs. If you were walking towards them from Tring way along the Icknield Way in the evening, they would have glowed pink like the statues of the Kim family. Must have been uncanny.

I was considering after last night's "Strictly non-threatening Seekers' Service." We held it in the Big Shed, in barn-dance style. There was country music played by 'Howling Hank Hnaef and the Sidewinders." There was Hnaef himself calling the moves. There was modelling clay and tea lights and AV of lovely starling formations and cutting out paper shapes.

To keep the atmosphere light and welcoming, there were a few things we missed out. You know, things that could have made things tricky. Like prayer. Or mentioning God, or sin or death or hope - because if anything kills a lightly religious atmosphere like hope does, I'd like to know what it is.

Still, everyone seemed to enjoy it. And the regulars said could we do that rather than our normal Beaker Occasions.

I sometimes think about that Creator Who underpins the universe, Who planned and watches the destruction of star systems - shredded by the mathematics laid out before the beginning of Time. I wonder about the One that calls from beyond the heavens. That holds multiple universes in one hand; yet a baby looks at you shining with God's image.

I think we'll have a labyrinth next Seekers' Barn Dance. People like labyrinths.


  1. Labyrinths are good to lose yourself in, even the ones marked in grass - coming back could be a nightmare.


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