Did the cathedral just breathe in?

The Dickens weekend went really well and was an exciting event to be with.

The cut out nativity scene painted by our fantastic Head verger, Colin, and used amazingly by Den and Sharron (thanks guys – amazing as ever!) seemed to be a real hit with loads of people, although over the 2 days I did have 2 complaints suggesting it was insulting to the Holy Family – I guess it was always going to upset somebody. I think, however, on the whole people appreciated the chance to be in the picture and we are able to suggest to the dissenters that it illustrated quite well how God could have chosen any ordinary to be the mum and step father of Jesus and so, instantly, become extraordinary! (if you had your picture taken and have lost the card you will be able to find them here when they are uploaded)

I think over the weekend we had thousands of people pass through the cathedral. many had questions, many more lit candles (over 2000 on the first day!) and took time to pause, pray or think. I know many of the team has some quite deep conversations,

My observations over this Dickens leave me with many questions, and I guess as well with some confusions. Questions / confusions / observations like:

How is it that people not connected with the cathedral have such strong views about when they think we are doing something wrong? Do they feel some ownership?
What do people think they are doing when they light candles?
Why do people queue outside the cathedral waiting for a service to finish?
What causes young people to be moved to tears as they listen to the choir rehearsing?

I made a joke over the weekend along the lines of the cathedral having times when it breathes people in by their thousands. It’s like a vacuum is created and the people flood in to fill it. It was strange; there were low times but then there were times when people just came, and came, and kept coming! It was as if the cathedral itself was taking a big breathe and people were being breathed in!

Well … maybe not the cathedral breathing in …. but the spirit that resides here!

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