Thoughts on ‘The End’

We appreciated this review of our Greenbelt event ‘The End’ – published online at Church Times. 

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2013/30-august/features/features/greenbelt-2013-life-begins

‘There is a well-known spiritual exercise where you imagine your own death. Only Ikon would do this all dressed as Elvis in his Las Vegas days. And only Ikon would find, too late, that the requisite dark glasses meant they couldn’t always see their scripts and computer keyboards in the dim lighting. . .

When, at the entrance to Ikon’s “The End” on Sunday afternoon, participants were given a balloon and string with the instruction “This is your life. Tie it to yourself and blow yourself up,” it was ob­­vious how the service would end.

Before the balloon popping, the congregation wrote what they hoped their lives’ legacies would be, only to have them ridiculed, and stuffed into a child’s potty (another Elvis reference).

The underlying message was an invitation to give up the comfort of a God who will make things right, and to embrace a community of decay. Like the invitation to leave the venue blindfolded, with which the service ended, that was probably still a step too far for most par­ticipants.’

(If you know of other reviews, comments, or sources of pictures, please let us know and we’ll link from here).

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September 22, 2013 · 3:20 pm

The End Blindfold

From ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. Photo by Stephen Caswell.

The End Blindfold

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September 22, 2013 · 3:15 pm

Cover Your Eyes

From Ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. By Padraig O Tuama.

Before the beginning
nobody said ‘let there be darkness’
because it was already there.

Nobody said ‘Let there be darkness’.

The light shines in the darkness
But the darkness was there first.
Cover your eyes. 

See the darkness that is always there.
Cover your eyes.

See what Nobody gave you.

Cover  your eyes. 

There is only you. And before you, you were nothing.
Cover your eyes. 

This just might be the end.
Cover your eyes. 

Nobody told you nothing, but nothing tells you everything.
This is the end.
For now.
Cover your eyes. 

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How will you live when you longer live? – a liturgy

From Ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. By Chris Fry.

If there is nothing hiding behind the stars…
How will you live when you longer live?

If your body swirls toward the dust…
How will you live when you longer live?

If your papers and books and your precious wonderful words fade like dew on sun kissed morning…
How will you live when you longer live?

All sing: I’ll be gone in a day or two

If your goodness and perfect belief cannot conjure heaven’s gates…
How will you live when you longer live?

If your every cell protests its plight…
How will you live when you longer live?

If your loving children let go of your shadow and leave you quietly in the darkness of your grave…
How will you live when you longer live?

All sing: I’ll be gone in a day or two

If when you stare deeply into the falmes of hell and discover there a mirror, a mirror in which you see a little-you tortured by your ordinary distracted mother and your tired and bored father. A little-you scared by bullies and exclusion and hurt and the first time a loved one tore you from yourself with their touch and their words until you thought you might die with pleasure. And then with that same tongue unwanted you, uncoiled themselves from your arms and left you alone. A little-you full of rage and punishment. If you stare into the flames of hell and see your forgotten hurt self trying to make its way home…
How will you live when you longer live?

If every incantation you wield falls foul of the current of decay and your tired bones ache with each step and stair. When the darkness opens its unyielding maw…
How will you live when you longer live?

If your poetry and your pictures and your words are blindness upon blindness, fortresses of hope fashioned from doubts and loves. Desperate attempts to cast your memories into a future that cares nothing for you. If you do not want to be forgotten…
How will you live when you longer live?

All sing: I’ll be gone in a day or two

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Give the end a beginning

From Ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. By Stephen Caswell.

While you have not yet ended, you find yourself at The End.

Let the end begin; give it a birth in your mind. Someday, somehow, somewhere, The End will greet you.

Give the end a beginning. Let your mind know what your heart knows already; that its beats are limited, that your thoughts will dry up, that you are dust and soil and mud awakened.

The End will greet you and you will be nothing. No thing at all. All these dusty things gathered here tonight will be greeted.

Are we to be afraid? You might take comfort in the stories you’ve heard. You might take comfort in the stories you leave behind. How will they speak of you when you’re gone? Will they speak of you at all? How will you live when you no longer live?

Are we to be thankful? Thank god there is an end. With an end, every moment inherits infinite worth; with no end, every moment is paupered.

Now awakened, would you deny yourself the chance to face it; stare at its looming; attend to the emptiness of The End? What soil can consider such things?!

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My Last Words

From Ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. By Shirley McMillan.

I

My last words will be whatever you first remember of me when I am gone from you forever.

There are things that I foreground in my life in an attempt to manipulate my legacy, and I don’t think that this is wrong. I want those who have known my darkness to find it easier to reflect on my light when I am gone, so that perhaps some of the light will remain. I want the lessons that have been hard won in my life not to go missing whenever I do, so I write them down for my daughter, and I write them into poetry and novels.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy about me, I want people to meditate on such things, and to this end I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog, and when I reflect on my mistakes in public I am hoping that the legacy will be that good people, such as myself, reflect on their mistakes in public. There will be no vicar searching for words to say at my funeral, because words are what I leave behind, and I set out the best ones like books about art on a coffee table, as if those are the ones I choose most often from day to day.

There is much said about the falseness of such an attempt to present the best of ourselves, but I don’t think it’s wrong. I am making it easier for those I love to feel that I haven’t really gone. I will still be there. The words on my pages are the same yesterday, today and forever.

II

My last words might be silenced.

What if my words get lost? Or worse, misinterpreted? What if the lessons I learned are not the ones my daughter needs to learn? Who do I belong to when I am not here any more? If the words that I left were altered, then I would disappear for good. It would truly be the end of me. It would truly be the end.

III

My last words are nothing. Whether I spoke them, or not. I have no way to live on, because I am not living. The words are out of my mouth, out of my mind, and I will not be there to claim or explain them. All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, and they are lost forever, and their words are lost forever. Their words are lost forever.

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“Welcome to ikon” – Greenbelt 2013

The opening video from ikon’s event ‘The End’ at Greenbelt Festival 2013. 

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September 22, 2013 · 12:09 pm