Catharsis in the Cathedral - Reflection by Canon Neal


Read Canon Neal's reflection for Tuesday, 25 May, 2021.

Here’s something that hasn’t happened for a long time – a Cathedral full of people! Yet, with space around us to feel safe and free from anxiety, especially for those who have hardly ventured out in the last year or more.

Last week’s LightNight and the launch of the fabulous Peace Doves art installation was such a threshold moment as we finally felt as if we’d stepped into a new reality. A move away from the nightmare of the Covid-shaped reality of the last 15 months to something more like life in all its fulness. Our senses were all ministered to: the awesome spectacle of the Peace Doves itself, with its 18000 paper doves, all carrying a personal prayer for peace; the sound of beautifully-crafted music from our incredibly talented musicians at the Cathedral; the delightful smells and tastes of the Welford Bistro wafting into the building; and the touch of a button being laid in memory of someone special in the ‘Peace to Ourselves’ reflective space. It was not lost on me that all this renewal and healing happened on the same weekend as the church celebrated the festival of Pentecost, remembering the great outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on the first followers of Jesus. God’s unmasked spirit of peace was certainly blowing through the Cathedral!

No longer does the Cathedral feel ‘hollowed out’, as one regular had aptly described the impact of the pandemic, but is being refilled. And not only was there buzz and joy; there was real catharsis too. One dictionary defines catharsis as “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions”. That, it seems to me, is exactly what has been happening these last few days. I have a feeling that there is a great deal more of that to come. But fret not, the Peace Doves installation is with us right through the summer, and the music, catering and the Cathedral itself, by God’s grace, with us a for a good deal longer! You are very welcome to come and experience that catharsis for yourself.

In the meantime, I hope that the beautiful Peace Doves prayer, composed by Canon Philip, will also provide catharsis for you at this time, whether or not you feel able to venture out at the moment.

O brooding Spirit, in soaring flight over stormy seas, teach us to pray.

Carry our cries and hopes to God’s heart.

Bring us to firm ground when we lose our moorings.

Come and make your home within us.

Bring us new life and make us fruitful by your constant inspiration.

Through Jesus, who laid down his life so that we might rise up, our peace, now and for ever. Amen.

With good wishes

Canon Neal

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