Thursday 27 August 2009

No way in or out?

bricked up door and blocked window ay monyash

Monyash, Derbyshire

From across the street only the solitary dressed stone lintel betrays the fact that there was once a doorway here . Close up the stonework tells the same story but offers no reason why this was so. Looking to the right the window might shed some light on what lies inside, except that on closer inspection this too has been blocked off from within. Several planks behind the panes of glass and a sheet of corrugated iron pushed up against the slatted wooden grille keep the interior safe from prying eyes. From street side nothing gets in or out this way anymore, neither people nor light. And I want to know why. What is the story?

Of course to an imaginative gaze other avenues of thought emerge. The image is lifted from its particular story and context and, as art, it engages us from within and behind the street side facade we present to the watching world. It speaks to and from the things which matter most to us to challenge and shape our awareness and intention.

As someone who is passionate about the life-liberating and radically subversive embodiment of the love of God which we see in Jesus, and of his gospel for the poor, oppressed and excluded in life, I am minded and moved to think that:

Perhaps this image  speaks of those who are shut away in hellish lives behind closed doors and out of sight.

Perhaps this image speaks of those who are shut out and excluded from the good things in life.

Perhaps this image speaks of the very antithesis of faith, of a space deliberately shut off from encounter and vision.

Perhaps this image speaks personally and provocatively to you and me in ways that will yet become clear.

Perhaps this image speaks of an insight which God wants us to grasp and act upon.

Who knows. One thing is certain however. Images have the power to speak deep down into our soul, if we will only open up the door and let in the light to that precious place we call our imagination.


See Sally’s Poem based on this image


  1. I'm glad there's a window beside it... it reminds me of that phrase that Mother Theresa used to use - "whenever God closes a door, he always opens a window"

  2. thank you, this image prompted a poem...