Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Temples In The Open Air
In the previous post, we mentioned the significance of stars and, in this post, we will mention places of worship so let us also note that Chapter 8 of James Blish's The Star Dwellers is called "A Temple of Stars."
After entering the ruined and abandoned St Grimmin's Church:
"Holger thought that the church was not dead, not defiled. It stood roofed with sky and walled with the living world; it stood as the sign of peace." (p. 152)
(i) In Liverpool, a church was bombed during the War. The ruin has not been repaired but preserved as a reminder. In good weather, office workers eat sandwich lunches in the church garden.
(ii) Recently, I walked in a field near Morecambe Bay (see image) with a friend, Nygel, who is a Wiccan high priest. I remarked, "This is our temple, the sky and the hills." He replied that some buildings convey sacredness. I thought of York Minster because being in it does not feel like being indoors.
(iii) That same friend led a group of us sitting round a fire at night near the Bay. He noticed that, when he sat facing the fire, it felt like being in a cave or other enclosed space, whereas, when we stood up and turned around, we saw sky, stars and the vast open space between us and the hills across the Bay. Awe is a spontaneous response.