|St Michael and All Angels Church Alsop en le Dale|
While out walking we often come across old country churches. I’m no believer but whenever we come across one, I still like to push open the door and step into that cool, musing stillness one only seems to encounter in ancient country churches.
Even in these modern times and even as an atheist I still feel a sense of the sacred as I step inside. Something else too. A shiver of loss perhaps. Something allowed to drift away, something we should have kept hold of. The cool ghost of lapsed responsibilities brushes past, sending the faintest shiver down my spine. Yet once outside it all wafts away into the land of the lost.
At least part of the problem seems to be our modern obsession with function. Some things are sacred because they work morally. It's that simple. They make a positive moral contribution to the kind of society we actually want. Motherhood, do unto others, and education could still be sacred if we only take them as morally given and do our best to honour their importance to our society.
Yet we don’t. We pretend to analyse and dissect, pretend to be teasing out function instead of keeping things simple, instead of trying to fulfil sacred moral duties which is really all they are. So targets, tick boxes and costs take over. Function elbows out the sacred and we lose sight of where we ought to be headed, where guiding lights still glimmer fitfully in a gathering gloom.