August 2021 - Behind the mask


As I write, Mr Johnson is planning on removing the remaining restrictions across our land (at least, the bits to the south and east of the borders which come under his control), and we are invited to be free, but cautious. Will it be the glorious liberty of casting off the veil? Or the vulnerability of nakedness exposed to the gaze of impetuous viruses lustily eyeing up one's immune system?

Either way, we have had our faces covered in many public spaces for a long time, and even longed-for change can be uncomfortable. And although seeing everyone's lovely face again will be great (though sensible caution may mean many retain the mouth curtain), each face hides a secret world, a world of experience and memory. I sometimes imagine humans walking around this lump of blue-green space rock like moons orbiting a planet, but within each one, instead of an impenetrable solidity, therein lies its own universe; a vastness and spaciousness of interiority that lies invisibly beyond the eyes and comprehension of others. No other person experiences this world, and no one, even peeking under the skull of another, sees their hidden thoughts. Nothing is known except what is expressed, and perhaps only through that which is displayed through behaviour and action, for actions speak louder – and perhaps more honestly – than words.

I think we are mistaken if we think the outer, visible world more concrete, more real than our psychospiritual universe. Reality is subjective, but then all experience is filtered, and we know what we know. Not that objectivity or scientific knowledge isn't crucial. It's just that we are human, and our knowing and our being are huge creative spaces of experience and encounter, both unique and beautiful.

We see many faces, and many think they can read them well. But really we are looking through a glass darkly, nowhere near the full knowing of another being. So perhaps we might revel in the vastness of our inner being, and, aware of our own unique beauty and darkness, venture into the hidden land of the soul within.

Nick Bird
your Rector

This letter from Revd Nick Bird appeared in the August 2021 issue of The Grapevine.

You can read the other church pages of the August 2021 issue for free online. Alternatively, pick up a hard copy of the full magazine for 40p in any of the four parish churches, Dean's Garden Centre, Dunnington Newsagents or Stockton Village Stores.

To receive a copy of the Grapevine delivered to your door every month, contact Barry Hewitt 01904 488331.

July 2021 - Acting DDO

June 2021 - Living like a river flows

May 2021 - I am a mermaid

April 2021 - An egg for Easter

March 2021 - Death and new birth

February 2021 - Loving your neighbour

January 2021 - Mapping the peaks

December 2020 - Christmas is cancelled

November 2020 - Winter is coming

October 2020 - Tending my garden