Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Could anyone in their right mind resist reading 'The Wind in the Willows' after glancing at the chapter listing? Each one draws you in to another world of serenity and some mystery. Who could fail to leave 'Dulce Domum' alone and what child would not want to meet the Piper at the Gates of Dawn? As regular Wanderers will know (my thoughts on the AW t'shirts galloped as far as ones saying 'I'm an Anglican Wanderer', but maybe not until after Lambeth. If they fail to sell, maybe GAFCON will buy a job lot) I am fascinated by early English literature and the amalgamation of the European and Scandinavian folk tales into our own from the time of Beowulf to the Golden Bough. Piers Plowman, apart from being a very funky name, contains within itself much of what it means to be English, much of our National depth, which as we paddle about in the shallow waters of the Church, with the tide of opinion seemingly leaving us on an island of orthodoxy, is reminding me of England before St Hild Romanised us all.

I change my mind, continually, about all this, finding new strands, most of which take me up a blind alley, some of which connect to the Golden Bough, all of which are exciting journeys. Maybe I will never meet the Piper, the trunk from which the bough of English legend grows, but I hear his music in the smallest branches as the wind of change blows. Sometimes we seem a long way from the bough, perched on the furthest shoot, but the tree is large and accommodating, as befits an Isle of immigrants, melded into something approximating Englishness over thousands of years and still being adapted by the positive influence of immigration to this day. Maybe this is the story of our being, that who we are convinced us in times gone by to deny our essence and form an empire which crashed and now we reap the direct outcome of empire, which is immigration once again. We are seeing the pattern coming full circle and I, for one, rejoice in it. And we, as Christians, are fulfilling our faith and the teachings of the Christ by welcoming people to our land which has been marked by this since the beginning of history. We are the peculiar children of many nations, all who came to England and it would seem to be this true catholicity of nature which gave us the confidence to stretch all over the world now gives us the confidence to welcome people back home. The longest journey is that to the interior of ourselves and the chances are all around us.

So back to changing our minds, to being an amalgamation of that which we make ourselves and that which we are made into. Forming, as James Joyce put it, the uncreated consciousness of our race through experience and adventure. In view of that and in view of our natural curiosity and love of beautifully tempting titles, what a journey we are to embark on now! I have always thought that a code of practice would suffice for us but the events of Monday last convinced me, once the dust had settled, that it would not. It also convinced me that this is a bad time for deciding such things, but this is the time we have. As we read yesterday, FinF is facilitating a way forward for us which we are to follow, whatever, as has been pointed out elsewhere, we may think of the detail. Good. I only hope that we can all stand together on this although having, for the last while observed the friction between many of us, that will need much humility and prayer from all of us if we are to be a true branch of the Church of Christ and bear new shoots and leaves which will fall in autumn and grow new shoots, rather than just clogging up the Church gutters and having to be cleared and burned.

The Piper, of course, in any reading of the legends, is Christ. He who is before the dawn and who sets the world into it's glorious motion, expecting us to be good custodians of this place, whatever it becomes. Piero Ferrucci, a favourite Psycho-Synthesist of mine, wrote a book called 'What we may Be' in which he charts the capabilities of the human mind. Often when I think on the world and our duties to it, I think on what the world may be, what we could help it and each other to be. The piper is an eschatological symbol of the kingdom of God, that is, the presence of God, on earth here and now, hidden yet present. This custody of the earth and the church and of each other, urges us to realise the potential of what we and the world may be. And what it may be is the Kingdom of God, right here and now, if we have faith and trust in our own strength as well as that of the Lord. What we may be is the other side of division, envy and jealousy for we are the children of God, therefore we may be in the Kingdom of God if we were able to live our lives according to His word.