. . . The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne / Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne . . . (Canterbury Tales, Lines 7-8)
This place is breathtakingly beautiful. Every time I walk out of the courtyard of the Lodge I am struck by the ever present beauty of the Cathedral. Today gave us the opportunity to learn a it more about this amazing site.
Most of today’s program was filled with two tours: a stained glass tour and a general tour which leaned into the theological roots and dynamics of this place. I was struck in both of these tours of the deep history of this place. I was struck by the way history had contributed to the preservation and the distraction of this place. The architectural and artistic inspiration this plac has had in the world is inspiring.
Today it was easy to imagine pilgrims through the generations coming and gazing upon this sacred space. I wondered how many pilgrims tried to pray with the same hammering house I heard throughout the cathedral today. I wondered how many people were moved to tears as they knelt before altars and shrines. I wondered how many people, like one of my tour guides, still hold anger and resentment towards “the Puritans” for destroying so much of the artistic beauty of this place.
Stepping into the Cathedral is at the same time stepping into the past and looking into the futur. This place, with all its history, is a real gift. Today I realized, in a deeper way, how important this place is to the heart of my own faith and Anglican tradition. It was a powerful and humbling experience.
While on pilgrimage, I’ve been rereading Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude. As I sat in the Quire reading and praying before Evensong I came across these words:
The bells say: we have spoken for centuries from the tower of great Churches. We have spoken to the saints your fathers, in their land. We called them, as we call you, to sanctity (68).
This place has called unknown numbers if people to enter into a closet and more intimate relationship with God. This place has called me into a closet and more intimate relationship with God. Today I give thanks for the gift of this place, and the important reminder of caring for our heritage and tradition: that which has been I trusted to us so that we might pass it along to future generations.