Recently, I have been trying to marshal my thoughts and understand why it is that I find some churches – and church services – peaceful, spiritually calming and even beguiling, when a) key aspects of Christian doctrine – the Virgin Birth, The Trinity, The Resurrection etc. are, to me, absurd, and b) in my world view, the likelihood of the existence of God is fairly close to zero.
The only way I can explain these feelings, is the consideration that the actual buildings are frequently very old, and their use by many generations of people for community worship to a similar liturgy, with similar rites and rituals, somehow communicates itself to me over the centuries.
Some time ago I made contact with a distant cousin via a genealogical journal. She kindly sent me a book of poems by a mutual relative published in 1945. The poet’s name is Eric Chilman, and his poem Above the Market-Place seems to convey just such a feeling:
Said the church tower:
“These ant-like market folk
Have toiled within my shadow since that hour
When the dawn broke.
“They linger still,
Transfigured in the flare
Of sunset bright on Georgian pane and sill
Of the old square.
“When sunset wanes
And curfew ends the show,
Then home to farmsteads lost in printless lanes
The farm folk go.
With boom of curfew sped,
I have watched their going half a thousand years,”
The church tower said.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs