Friday 29 November 2013

Worshipful places

I have just watched a few minutes of a television programme about Wells cathedral. I love Wells cathedral, I can remember being awed by it as a young child, climbing the worn steps up into the towers wondering how many feet must have come before me and taking part in the country dancing festivals on the large green in front of the main entrance. But what grabbed me about this programme was something a visitor said about the building. She came because she could feel that God was there.

My beliefs are a confused mish-mash of a deep reverence of nature with a sprinkling of Christianity that I don't seem to be able to let go of. This means that I am very comfortable within buildings of Christian worship, I love their atmosphere and the cloak of history that they embody. But I don't feel that God is any more there for me than anywhere else. In fact it almost feels as if he must be rather busy! But if I take an early morning walk, perhaps in our local woodland when everything is waking up, I can feel that the earth is alive. That is when I feel God all around me.

A cathedral is a wonderful place, grand yet still has a seat available for me if I choose to visit. But lovely though this is it is also very restrictive. I get to hear somebody else's interpretation of his voice, his words. I am surrounded by other questioning souls. It can be a very loud place even when nobody is saying anything and my personal questions go unanswered. But in the woodland I know that he can hear me.

I may say 'he' but I do tend to visualise 'him' more as a mother nature type entity. Not asexual but a spirit that embodies both masculine and feminine sides. 'He' is probably a holdover from my Christian upbringing, it feels uncomfortable for me to say 'she' or 'it' even though I don't feel him as a purely masculine presence.

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