i follow the religion of love

i spent yesterday morning at part of Bill Viola’s current exhibition… i was mesmerised by the video of the woman walking towards camera from far off in the horizon until all you can see is the fabric of her black robes … I also loved his sketches with poetry. jonny has written about this much better than i could. it was a thin place, simultaneously transcendent and immanent (I wonder why we treat those as opposites?).

Hasan+massoudy.jpgi spent the afternoon with Sophie, an old friend from Melbourne, visiting the Word into Art exhibition – artists of the Modern Middle East – in the British Museum. The artwork was a glorious interweaving of poetry and art. it was a tiny glimpse of an evocative and rich culture that I know barely nothing of. the piece on the left is by Hassan Massoudy. it says, “I follow the religion of love”, taken from the poetry of Ibn ‘Arabi, written in 1240.

The two exhibitions were very similar in many ways. both speaking of fragility and resilience, both describing thin places and creating them as they did. which describes exactly what we try to do in alternative worship (and maybe other forms of worship, I’ve learnt I can only speak for alt worship!).

as a side note, it was so lovely to see Sophie. when I was writing about mentoring a few years ago, sophie was the young person I tried my theories out on. I take no credit for how she’s turned out – she was always going to be remarkable. She’s been living in London for the last six months, doing emergency relief teaching. Today she flies out to South Africa, where she will be working in a school in the southern Kalahari. Her intention is to take back all she learns to work in indigenous education and community development back home.

We talked yesterday about church and worship, and where we were both at with it all. we both agreed that we’d reached a point where our faith made more sense to those outside the church than those who were part of it. neither of us wanted to dissect whether that was a good thing or not; it’s just a statement of how it is!

the Tate Modern today, a few final touches on my Greenbelt talk about wild spaces and alternative worship (the nerves are kicking in! I keep remembering how little I know about this!), and then off to greenbelt tomorrow with Taryn.