Bet you thought the statue in Piccadilly Circus was called Eros. But you’d be wrong.
That’s just one of the many, many surprises uncovered when a group from the nearby St James’ Chuch set out for some serious wandering on their first Street Wisdom. I understand most churches celebrate Lent in a traditional, rather sombre way. But St James isn’t most churches. And this is clear the moment you arrive to find the courtyard bustling with market traders, an espresso bar buzzing with customers and a pews dotted with snoozing rough sleepers comfortably catching up on missed sleep. And Lucy Winkett, who organised the Street Wisdom, isn’t the normal vicar. Her approach to Lent – and life – is anything but trad. Which is how she and her colleagues came up with the idea of “Loitering within Lent”, a series of experiences designed to make people reflect on life from different perspectives. When she heard about Street Wisdom, she felt iy would fit in perfectly – and she was right.
I didnt notice till half way through the Tune Your Senses phase, what the sign next to us was saying…
With someone ‘up there’ providing gorgeous pre-spring weather and a post-card perfect setting, the event was a rich and rewarding experience not just for the participants but also for Jo and I. We learned about how even an ugly strip of torn black plastic, or the scent of lavender or some gently moving planks of wood can spark off a revelatory insight. We were touched the youthful appetite to learn within some more ‘senior citizens’ and by the age-old wisdom in some Generation Y-ers. Our erudite participants introduced us to a great quote by Rilke and we heard the word ‘panoply’ used in ordinary conversation. We met Joey the dog. And learned the real name of that statue we thought we knew so well. Turns out it’s not Eros but the Angel of Christian Charity. Amazing what you learn when you really look!
Judging by this plaque on St James’ back door,
we are not the first people to have had the idea that
wisdom is everywhere when you really look around you
If you took part and want to add your own comments, please do so below. Thanks for inviting us!