Jane Williams: The cathedral service
|A second blog post by Jane Williams|
Monday 21st July
The cathedral service was truly wonderful. I’ve been to many services in Canterbury, the first of which was my husband’s enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury. It is simply one of the most beautiful and numinous buildings I have ever come across, and it always helps me to worship God, even if I go in feeling very unworshipful. But yesterday’s service was a high point.
As the bishops streamed in, a river of colour and movement, I thought back to accounts of the Council of Nicaea in 325. (Well, I do teach doctrine for a living!) At that, the first great ecumenical council of the Church, about 300 bishops were gathered. Some of them came from the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan of cities, some still worked as cattle-herders while exercising their episcopate. Some bore the marks of the torture and persecution that the Christian Church had suffered in the decades before 325. Some were learned, some simple, some holy, some wily, some aged, some young. They met to defend the full humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ, and so to defend the heart of the Christian faith.
The bishops in Canterbury cathedral looked ready to take their turn at defending the faith, with the help of all of us gathered there to worship together. As the Melanesian brothers and sisters danced the Gospel book down the aisle with infectious joy, we all knew that this is about Good News for the world, and that’s why it’s worth defending.