Liminal Luminous

The shining threshold
Spirituality

Liturgy

I was staying in London this weekend and so I decided to go to the Sung Eucharist at St Paul’s Cathedral.

This is the second biggest cathedral in England and it is where a lot of important people get buried, such as Nelson Mandela, for example. It is an iconic part of London.

I have never been to cathedral worship before and I adore music, so I was excited to go. It is stunning inside with very high ceilings, a lot of beautiful imagery, highlighted with gold leaf. You are not allowed to take photos inside, and I neglected to take any of the outside. I was trying not to use much technology while I was away, trying to be in the moment, rather than figuring out the best picture.

I found it hard to listen to the sermon as the echoes are immense, so I wasn’t able to really understand what he was saying. But the rest of it was beautiful. This is high church with drama, beautifully embroidered robes, a great big red, engraved bible being brought into the centre for the gospel reading etc.

The president sang quite a lot of the liturgy, it sounded stunning with the echoes. In the service booklet it included the music for the hymns and the parts which we had to sing, which I found reassuring. I especially enjoyed singing the Eucharistic prayer as a call and response.

I think what I enjoyed most about the service was large parts of it are the same as in my little church. The Gloria, The Creed, The Peace, as well as many other aspects. It meant that even though it was on a much larger and grander scale I felt part of my community at home.

I guess this is rather the point of liturgy, it joins us into one community. I have taken to saying the C of E daily prayer at the close of the day, using the free app. Again, the repetition causes familiarity with God, as well as linking me into a wider community.

In the past I would have scorned liturgy, saying it doesn’t give you space to do your own prayers, but now I find the ritual and the familiarity comforting. It also means when I am struggling I can just do the prayers as are written and hope that connection will bring me closer to God when I am not able to reach out by myself.

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