Thursday, 25 December 2008

Heavy Ritual

For the first time since I was a young teenager I have gone to a church service that wasn't a wedding. And my word! What a service!

F and I went to Truro Cathedral for Midnight Mass. A completely new thing for both of us. Both of us grew up attending church as was common at that time. It was a community thing and nothing else happened on Sundays. He went to a very relaxed Methodist Church and I to a little villagey C of E. Neither of us had ever been to Mass before and had no idea what to expect. I suspect that Mass at either of our childhood churches would have been very different.

There was an organist who could have played in the most fearsome of gothic horrors. With fantastic solos that were somewhat awe inspiring in their dazzling complicatedness. The old organist at my childhood church was more humorous than skilled. One time she skipped a whole page and didn't notice.

The voices of the choir were astounding! The acoustics of the cathedral threw their voices around. The highest notes soared... The technical audacity of the arrangements they were singing...

The cathedral was pretty much full with only the occasional seat empty. All the reponses were uttered by the huge crowd as one. The tone of a crowd talking together is incredible. A deep resonant sound that you can almost feel vibrate through you...

The building itself is pretty astounding. It is a little different from other ccathedrals up country. There are no huge paintings or plaster mouldings. If there is one thing the Cornish know how to work then it is stone. The pattern of the stones is so precise. The carvings are so intricate. The use of different types of stone is so intricate in places... And the ceiling floats far above...

Even the sermon was good and amusing in places while bringing a new (to me) perspective to the Christmas story... How common is that?

I guess I have grown up a little. I will no longer turn my back on the church because I can not believe or agree with everything in Christianity. The church is my heritage and the tradition of my upbringing. There is much to take from it and enjoy. If I look at it as my tradition rather than my faith then why shouldn't I go and enjoy it? It doesn't threaten my beliefs. I don't threaten others belief or enjoyment by being there.

So much in the church is pagan anyway... I can worship aspects of the Horned God... Finally. Didn't take many years for that to happen... Did I ever mention I can be stubborn?

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