Surrendering To The Sky

Wandering around Newtown yesterday I couldn’t help but continually photograph the spire of St. Stephen’s Church.

The church was built in 1849. What I love about it is how it reaches up into the sky. Spire is Anglo Saxon in origin and means spear. It is as if the spire is trying to pierce its way right through to heaven and let all the gods in.

There is an impression of strength, of tenacity but also of vulnerability. The tip of the spire is so exposed up there. If there is any godlike wrath floating around, it will be an easy target. But perhaps if it is fortunate enough it will be successful and reach out, right out to the hand of God.

Ah, the things I think about on a sun-filled late autumn day.

But I’m not the only one.

Looking up is contagious.

Before long many of the people in the park by the church were looking up at me looking up at the spire.

You can’t deny the feeling of the celestial in invokes.

No matter what you believe.

You can stop the surge of hopefulness that floods through you at the sight of it, built to forge some kind of connection to heaven.

One young girl, with blue black hair, in a floral patterned long dress said something I will never forget.

It’s as if it is surrendering to the sky.

There are poets who appear among us as surreptitiously as leaves cast down by the wind.

We see their chipped nailpolish and crooked smiles and expect nothing from them.

And they give us a gift filled with the rays of the sun.

Inspired, I walked, seeing patterns and forms in doorways and on walls that suggested this urban landscape carries with it a fascination with the divine; with what lies above.

Maybe the point of it all, the relevance, the almost inaudible music that shadows us like a soundtrack to our lives, is to give it up.

Give ourselves up.

And surrender to the sky.

18 thoughts on “Surrendering To The Sky

  1. Hi Selma,
    You don’t realize the art work in the spire until you actually see the close up in the photo, the amount of work that goes into a lot of the churches is to be admired.
    Nice photo’s, good detail.


  2. Hi MAMA:
    So glad you liked it. It was a little moment of unexpected inspiration in my day!

    Hi MAGSx2:
    I didn’t either. The detail in some of the churches in Sydney is quite amazing. I am quite pleased with that shot considering I have a new camera and am still learning how to use it. It takes pretty good shots!


  3. I love, love, love taking photos of spires and always marvel at their spiritual reverence as well as the loving creativity that went into the making of them… Their role is for us to look and and wonder……… that perhaps heaven isn’t so far away.

    love to you Selma…. xx


  4. HI DANA:
    Oh, me too. It is one of my favourite things to do. A bit of hope falls into my day whenever I see one. As you say, the care that went into building them is quite staggering. Some of the churches in Europe, particularly France, are mind-bendingly beautiful. I am in awe of them.

    In my quest to find good street art in my area I have found a bit of a religious motif going on. It has surprised me in a good way. I may not go to church but I do love my religious iconography.

    Hi MELEAH:
    It is a lovely old church. I am glad it is still standing because it fell on hard times for a bit and was in a state of disrepair. I am thinking of starting a campaign to get it completely restored!

    That means a lot to me. I do try. It is important for me to remember that it isn’t all horrible and gloomy out there. The interesting thing is that when you start to look for beauty, you can’t help but find it.

    Hi STEPH:
    Oh, yeah. I completely agree. There are a lot of things out there bigger than we are. The sky knows the score πŸ˜€


  5. Not bragging, or anything, but we got the grand-daddy of all spires on Salisbury Cathedral. It’s the tallest in England, and I think the highest point in Wiltshire.

    Not that Sydney doesn’t have some nice ones; you could go around with your head in the air all day.

    (and, who knows? You might get lucky, and see a koala! πŸ™‚ )


  6. What a beautiful post, Selma. And it’s true that if you just stand there looking up at the sky, other people will do the same thing…so funny!


  7. You said, “There are poets who appear among us as surreptitiously as leaves cast down by the wind.” and I melted. Amazing words, and so true.

    The thought of you standing there, looking up, and causing others to do the same happened to me once in Seattle. I was simply enjoying the (somewhat rare) brilliant blue sky and letting the sun warm my face. I wasn’t looking at anything, but I was smiling. The next thing I know, there were at least a dozen people standing around the bench where I was sitting and they were all peering into the blue looking for something.

    It was hard to keep from laughing.


    I keep searching for those elusive church spire sitting koalas. They’re slippery little characters πŸ˜†

    Your cathedral is gorgeous. I concur. You have to include some shots of it when you get back home. It is beautiful!

    That is the oddest thing, isn’t it? Looking up at the sky is contagious. And so many people said they noticed things they hadn’t noticed before!

    Hi KAREN:
    It is a funny moment. You almost feel like winding them up by saying; ‘Look, there it is, there it is…’ when there is nothing there at all. πŸ˜€

    All is well, dear G. I’ve just had a busy week. Thanks for checking XX


  9. Hi, haven’t had a lot of time to catch up until now and almost missed this. Your writing is so easy to read, it sometimes hides in that apparent ease, your loving and conscientiuous expression of beauty of spirit. Not this time. It is there for all to see.
    However, I comment on the subject of the piece, old churches. There are two things Christianity and indeed Islam brought to the world that offset to some extent, the demonisation and violence they have visited upon each other and humanity for a milleniumm. Some of the most beautiful and enduring music and architecture was commissioned by religious wealth, in Christianity reaching a peak at the height of its influence in an ascendant Europe and now falling away as patronage of the arts has waned. Islam, on the other hand, is enjoying a resurgence, gaining strength by insisting on observance of its ostentatious web of ritual, is attracting serious money and is building spectacular mosques around the world.
    So old stone churches, exteriors that express a thousand years of development of Christian symbolism and interiors that evoke feelings of peace and security, may never come again. And I, an atheist, love and value those expressions of our cultural legacy too.


  10. Thanks for the beautiful reminder and images of why we need to look up. I hate to think about how many spires I have missed while looking down at the ground and passing by in a city–oblivious to it all.


  11. I do love old churches and buildings – the architecture and art are designed to lift our souls to God, to get closer to the heavens – no matter if religious, what religion or even atheist, it would be a hard soul not moved by such beauty. Love your photos and words Selma πŸ™‚


  12. Hi STAFFORD:
    I couldn’t agree more. Look at Mozart and Bach. Both were commissioned by the Church. What music we would have missed out on if not for that. Islam art and architecture is also quite beautiful. It is easy to forget that when we are constantly beleaguered by the drama surrounding religion these days. You raise such an important point.

    When you look you are surprised by how many there are. I certainly was. They look gorgeous against the skyline!

    It’s true. Even an atheist feels slightly stirred by such things. You can’t fight beauty!


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