Monday, September 19, 2022

Balm for the troubled soul


On Sunday afternoon we welcomed over 170 adults, and 12 children, to Sunderland Minster for our monthly Choral Evensong. No, those numbers don’t reflect our usual attendance. England is thoroughly post-Christian. But it is also post-secular, post-liberal, post-rational. Not because we have embraced postmodernism, but because simplistic labelling does not, and never did, do justice to the complexity of reality, of our at times deeply conflicted lives. Perhaps it is because we acknowledge that complexity, and because we invite people into mystery rather than superficial certainty, that in times of great disturbance the community looks to the established Church of England. Again, this is not Christian Nationalism—choral evensong is almost certainly unfamiliar to the majority of those who were present this afternoon; not something recognised as essentially English, though as an expression of Christian public worship it is rooted in our history—but a visible, signposted place where the troubled soul might find rest.

In any case, we gather, not only in times of national crisis, but in ordinary time, full of everyday miracle and tragedy. And it was good to welcome others into that space today. Thank you to everyone who made, who make, that possible.


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