Shalom at Sarum

 

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Perhaps it is better when there are no expectations, no knowledge… allowing space for the Holy Spirit to filter through the ‘static’ of our days, and fill us with presence.

Arriving beneath the Cathedral’s great soaring height, entering the vast stone space, struck again at how vibrant that space is – not cold, not empty, but alive – prayer and presence have filled it to overflowing, there is an awareness that even in the dark this place would hum – and shimmer.

We were early; queued at the long trestles lining the bitter-windy North porch, finding friends among the clergy in attendance. Booklet [the service] and a pack of gifts [fridge magnet, book mark, information] and then we were inside the light.

The great square font, lipped at the corners where light glistens on a ceaseless waterfall, the still surface as smooth as marble…

and we pass and re-pass, finding the space to gather at the West End, in a jumble of arrivals: startled at how few are here – until in time the doors cascade arrivals, and we were 300 – Shalom.

Standing waiting, the Bishop is caught in time and light – his white clothing and white mitre far from the Prince Bishops once familiar here. Gone too the great golden glitter of a Bishop’s crook – his is simple and plain, carved from horn, the same quality of support and usage of any working shepherd’s.

Singing – too fast to draw breath – we are swept into purpose: led beyond the Font [trailing our fingers to leave behind the burdens we brought here] and counted out in tens to spend the morning exploring.

Alison Morgan – she of the “Wild Gospel” – speaks of healing, prayer, miracles, and in the same matter-of-fact voice we so rarely use for faith. Defines the separation between ‘Physical’, ‘Inner’ and ‘Spiritual’ healing: where are we heading?

Glancing round from our unexamined group of strangers to see who is nearby, there is the Bishop gently part of a group: Inner Healing – what a wonderful discussion that must have been.

Ours becomes intent: introductions [leaning well back on seats]; examples of inner healing [one by one, leaning forward, involved, trusting, open]. Coincidence of suffering: a life affected now by forgiveness.

So shall we be healed: “I am the God who heals you” – “YOU” – that is a surprise…how completely personal.

And we form a long pathway, each walking in turn under the arched hands, being prayed for, and in our turn standing to pray for others passing under our own raised arms. The sense of prayer received, of immediate blessing, of the love …of God …transmitted through one another.

The Eucharist – long lines of shimmering silver chalices: lines of servers in white with scarlet scarves. The Bishop :: imagined, now real, of humility and authority.

Martin Cavender – lawyer turned healer – speaking compellingly of God.”I am the God who heals you”

And at the end, we move forward for anointing, for prayer, for the grace to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and find a new pattern, a new ordinariness – transformed and changed and made whole.

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About Lavender Buckland

LLM rural ministry, communicator, website manager, passionate about communication! Music, reading, poetry, embroidery, and LIFE!
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