Tuesday, February 19, 2013
my tears at St Pauls
I shed tears at St Paul’s on Sunday. It was the 11:30 am Sung Eucharist. I don’t normally cry but as I stood in the line, waiting for that small white round disc to be pressed into my hands, I felt this surge of emotion.
I’m still trying to work out why.
It’s not that tears need a reason. They’re a feeling that can just be felt.
But our feelings are often a way of knowing more clearly who we are, so I’ve been pondering the tears that rolled down my cheek.
I think it was the sheer, outrageous gift that I found myself part of.
St Paul’s is a tribute to excess – the ornate ceilings, the expanse that must cost a fortune to heat, the staff that cope with thousands of tourists. All of this is sheer economic loss, an enormous burden for church and nation.
Yet it was all free. Which is not a common experience being a tourist in London.
And done with such grace and ease. The church had supplied more ministers around the communion table than I had fingers to receive that dry little wafer. The invitation was for any and all, with faith and no faith, to participate as much or as little as comfortable. All around me were strangers, some fumbling orders of service, others wondering when to bow and bob. All relaxing into the ease of grace. All without any dilution of the Christian narrative. Grace – free gift – in the shape of confession, Scripture, sermon, creed, communion.
A sheer outrageous gift, which made perfect sense of that little white disc that was about to be pressed into my hand. I think that’s why the tears rolled down by cheeks at St Paul’s on Sunday.