This weekend has been more hectic than usual as we were supporting three candidates from our Benefice at the Confirmation service at Salisbury Cathedral. We don't often escape the valley to go to Salisbury - and Saturday was not looking promising with the rain and gale force winds but by the afternoon we drove the straight road to Salisbury with an awesome setting sun in the rear view mirror.
The Cathedral was bathed in the golden light when we arrived which just emphasised its magnificence. There was to be a rehearsal for the candidates and their sponsors (and the rector) while I could go off for tea in the Chapter House and view one of the best copies of the Magna Carta. (click read more) I really wanted to go shopping in Salisbury but couldn't quite make my escape!
It was dark outside when the service began. It began in darkness in the cathedral with a reading from Isaiah 43:1-3a,6b-7. We all sang the Taize chant 'Veni sancta Spiritus' as Genesis1:1-3 was read. It was all very atmospheric. After the candles were lit, the candidates for baptism and confirmation were presented. They then moved down the central aisle to the magnificent font where the baptisms took place. Everyone then moved on towards the spire crossing where those to be confirmed, were presented to one of the three bishops. The congregation was encouraged to move through the cathedral with the clergy and candidates - it was an unexpectedly awesome experience!
At the end of the service the west end doors were opened and everyone followed the Bishops outside onto the steps of the cathedral. The night was clear and dry and there were distant fireworks exploding into the sky. Here we were able to group with all the people who had come to support from the Benefice - what an unexpectedly large turnout! The Rector@6 was thrilled by the number of people who had come to support the candidates form the Benefice.
And after everyone had left - The Rector@6 and I found ourselves in an empty cathedral! I don't know how it happened but people drifted away - others had gone to change in the vestry and suddenly we were all alone! You feel very small and very conspicuously in God's sight - now that is unexpectedly awesome!