Last night I went to see Iron and Wine at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, where we were up in the gods rather; the night before I’d been looking for some theatre tickets for a Christmas show, and was shocked at how much it was going to cost to be anywhere near where we might see.
The brilliant folky-dub got me thinking about ideas of proximity, and the value we place on it. Being physically near costs. If you want to be at the front, within touching distance, you are going to have to pay a huge amount more. Sitting near the front of a meeting says something; the physical layout of the space insists on it. Most of us are left wallowing at the back, with restricted views.
And somehow my mind skipped to the second coming; it struck me that one of the most powerful arguments against a standard physical interpretation of the second coming is this idea of limited proximity. We couldn’t all get anywhere near close. Rich and powerful Jews like Maxwell get buried in the hugely costly cemetery on the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem, overlooking the spot where Elijah is meant to return, and one feels that there would be a similar stampede for wherever the JesusShip™ decided to land.
We used to joke back in old-church about good deeds pushing you forward a couple of rows. No. Whatever we might think about eschatology, or post-life experience, SpaceTime must collapse, and ideas of distance and proximity will be irrelevant.
Strange where thoughts take you when you’re tired at a wonderful gig.