Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Tuesday morning, and the Minster is full of the sounds of six small children. One tiny tot of a girl has the expansive heart of an adventurer. She moves confidently through the side chapel, where I am sat reading; down a step, up a step, and slips under the wooden communion rail into the sanctuary, the still space surrounding the high altar; then slips back under the rail and sits for a long moment in the choir stall, contemplating the east window and its vision of heaven. All watched by an attentive but not interfering adult.

I know that this spirit will be squashed, as much by misplaced ideas of reverence as anything else*. But I pray that it will never be entirely lost. I know that it will be buried; but I pray she will know resurrection.

The children have left, the only sound now is the cry of gulls wheeling overhead. An elderly couple come in, sit on the front pew, lean in against each other, heads close, and reminisce. After a while, I go over to talk to them. Their memories are important to them, more-so than when they were younger. So much has been obliterated, torn down and built over. The homes they lived in as children, as newly-weds. The peace they find in this space is precious, and they pray that the world might know peace. Why is there so much trouble and violence in the world, they wonder, when it costs nothing to be kind?

I draw their attention to the east window in front of them: it only exists because the previous window was blown-in by a bomb in WWII. There is violence in the world, but it does not have the final word: we are continually starting over. In and through Christ, God is reconciling all [torn-apart] things...

*it was reported this week that at one church elsewhere, a campaign had been mounted against the vicar and church wardens, who were seeking to have a toilet installed in the church building, because (among other reasons) “toilets attract children”—and heaven forbid we should welcome little children...

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