A Second Dark Age? What Little People Can Do

‘We are entering a second dark age’ began Stewart Lee in his article on Brexit in the UK’s Observor newspaper, ‘but the light that flickers on the screens of our iPhones, from a five second clip of a dog sliding on some ice, is blinding us to the encroaching blackness. Our civilisation teeters at the abyss. We are 8th-century Lindisfarne monks, spotting black Viking sails on the horizon and hurrying to hide our illuminated manuscripts, before shaving our hair into tonsures to look less desirable to frustrated seafarers. But barbarians come in many guises ….’

Is there nothing we can do in the face of these modern barbarians? I went to Lincoln Cathedral to facilitate an over-subscribed Day which explored how we can be part of a peoples’ uprising - how we can transform the world by starting with ourselves and by linking up with our neighbours, drawing on five ancient wellsprings that transformed our forebears before the Vikings invaded. What are these five wellsprings?

1. We live as if we are Jesus putting himself in the shoes of the grass-roots people who live around us.

2. We live life as a pilgrimage, renouncing the spirit of possessiveness, looking upon everyone as strangers no longer but pilgrims together.

3) We are nourished by creation - making ourselves aware that it flows out of the heart of God.

4) We recover the rhythms of prayer and work, reflection and re-creation that fill us and the world with grace.

5) We make connections between our Christian groups or church hubs and the arteries of local life – eating, playing, learning, working and healing places. Here is one small example I heard about this week: A member of a church volunteered to lead the local town council’s weekly Walk for Health. The walkers liked his suggestion that they finish the walk in the café run by the church. Now it’s a regular. A nice little link-up. Another hundred such link-ups and we’ll have a village of God emerging.

And people are doing things in the face of these barbarians Down Under. Brent tells me our book on Celtic Spirituality in an Australian Landscape has sold out and a new printing must be ordered. In Queensland, I heard this week from Heather: ‘ local Indigenous people are using the Green House more. Mason is a Palowa man who hangs out there quite a bit. Local artists are creating a Frontier Wars memorial beside the War Memorial for Indigenous service people. A row of 8 poles are being painted and carved. The upstairs of the Green House is being upgraded for a cultural centre including an art gallery, artefact collection and historical display, which will be used in cultural tours at the Green House. One of the entrances from the street is flanked by statues and memorial plaques for Aidan and Hild . We will now be adding signage about the Indigenous British church (havn’t quite got the right wording yet) and will probably add a some more saints and heroes (thinking about Fiacre at the moment). We will celebrate other indigenous cultures within the Green House memorial garden and Nature Refuge as the opportunity arises.’

7 Wallace Green, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, UK

Posted at 10:01am on 31st October 2016
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