The shire

imageI am at the Turf. The pub where the book the Hobbit by Tolkien was initially concieved, and supposedly the other heart of Oxford, apart from St. Marys church, where I held my lecture. Tolkien sat here with his students to have a drink and talk and be creative I suppose. They concieved the journey that ultimately led Frodo to the abyss and back again to the Shire.

In a general sense, you could say, that this is where England has been heading after the first world war and the downfall of the Empire. But it is still here, the Turf, the initial station of the journey, and the very heart of things. After a few minutes of openness, well the place is already filling up. In other words, the culture that gave us The Hobbit, the Lord of the rings, and all these masterpeices is very much alive. Perhaps a renaessance of England lies in the axiom between the Church of Mary, where I held my discourse and the Turf. Why? Because to make a comeback for England, one has to remember both the profane and the elevated.

What was it really that Bilbo somehow was snatched away from when he left the cosy ambience of the Shire. Exactly that; the Shire.

The Shire is the archdefinition of what Englishness really is; the small village community that English people really like to create when they are able to. It makes the churches cosy, and it makes the connection between people simple and sincere.

We have the same idea in Denmark, small villages where people know each other, and the stools are old, and the furniture even older. Where the community is as ancient as the buildings made by our forefathers generations ago. Where the feeling of generations of yore is still embedded in the very walls, and has seeped into the very stones that is the pillars of that sacred house.

To understand what the Anglican church might do to have a comeback, you need to understand that Shire. You cannot be a saviour, if you do not understand who you are with.

The Shire is the bone and marrow of England, and it is in this idea, not only in a cultural sense, but in a spiritual sense, that will make England be England again. The Shire is much more than just the material frame, it is the reference of the community. If a church is, in any way, to adress how people feel and their needs, it needs to see the community as it is.

Community is another word for love, because it is in the relation to other people that we really meet G-d.

The Shire seems to be alive and well, but there are people that sometimes fall inbetween the stools, and end up on the floor without any support. Sometimes they end up in the street, as beggars, sleeping below the bridges. Sometimes some people become too old and weak are not able to get into the Shire, but sit at home with only the echoing clock as their companion. Sometimes the Shire is severed, and some are cast out, or some are hated. In these situation, a wealthfare state is not enough. It is not about the money, it is about the warm helping hand of perhaps a priest or a person that has compassion. The point is, to make a comeback of the Anglican church, it needs to see the needs of the community that it is responsible for, and instead of just opening the doors of the church, shed the fine robes, and wander the streets for those that are in need. It is about following that example of Christ, and help, not because of the rules, but because it is the right thing to do. But to be able to help, you need to understand. So go into the pub, the dark street, the beauty of the morning, and perhaps the adventure that Bilbo had, will finally bring him back to that sacred place, where you may truly understand what the community truly needs. In service.

G-d bless the fair meadows of England.

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