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The Tate Modern and the Magi

Posted by Simon Parke, 18 December 2017, 11.23am

I am in London’s Tate Modern, on the South Bank.

And I do something strange…I make a donation.

They always ask for one; but I never make one, not generally; with some instant rationalisation to hand.

‘I’m sure they’re well supported by others. You would have thought so, wouldn’t you?’

But today the money slips easily from my pocket.

It almost laughs itself into the donations box and I think I know why:


I want to say thank you for all the good times we’ve had in this spacious pile of bricks; give a financial nod to all those whose vision and hard work nurtures and supports this gracious city space.

A cathedral without the pews and dead knights.

I don’t always give in gratitude.

Sometimes I’ve given in anger or sadness; these too can dissolve my grasping, clinging psyche.

They compel in a different way.

I was going to say that gratitude is the most enjoyable form of giving.

In the Tate, I stand here grateful for my companions, for our journey to this point, for the ‘swings’ installation which everyone is enjoying, for a great fish and chips… for this kind space by the Thames, which has held us down the years.

So yes, gratitude is an enjoyable way to donate.

Though giving in awe, as the Magi did, must also be rather fine.

‘What’s a bit of gold? It’s not as if you can’t take it with you!’ as Melchior no doubt observed.

Awe does melt our clinging, whatever it is we grasp at, gold or otherwise.

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