Hello lovely readers, I hope you’re all having a great day this sunny (here at least) Saturday.
For those of you who don’t know, the above photograph is of Coventry Cathedral after it was bombed in the WWII. There are so many horror stories that continue to be told about this period of time so I would like to re-tell one that speaks of the good that came out of the ashes. We tend to forget that there are a number of good stories, from all over the world, that were born from the horrors.
This is what the Old Cathedral (St Michael’s) looked like before that terrible night in November 1940.
You can see the devastation caused in the photograph at the top of this post. However,
“Rebuilding would not be an act of defiance, but rather a sign of faith, trust and hope for the future of the world. It was the vision of the Provost at the time, Richard Howard, which led the people of Coventry away from feelings of bitterness and hatred. This has led to the cathedral’s Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation, which has provided spiritual and practical support, in areas of conflict throughout the world.
Shortly after the destruction, the cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two of the charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up in the ruins where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the moving words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the Sanctuary wall.”
Notice the words say simply ‘Father Forgive’. This was quite deliberate because forgiveness wasn’t just needed for the Germans, but for us Brits, and everyone else involved in the atrocities of war. The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation (below), which is read out in Coventry Cathedral every Friday at 12 o’clock noon was something else that came from the horrors, and many of those who are member of the Community of the Cross of Nails join in, around the world.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Provost Howard’s vision of a ministry of peace and reconciliation continues today and Coventry is well know around the globe as the centre of Peace and Reconciliation.
What is left is still beautiful, and stands directly across from our ‘new’ Cathedral where the two stand in harmony.
Although much of the building was destroyed, the tower stood proud and the ruins of the old Cathedral are used for many events these day, including outdoor cinema shows in the summer and featured heavily in the 2009 film ‘Nativity’.
The new Cathedral was completed and consecrated in May 1962, and is the home of the famous tapestry of Christ, and some incredibly beautiful stained glass windows, all of which tell a story of their own.
Thanks to the Provost, the people of Coventry managed to resist the natural tendency in such circumstances to harbour hatred, bitterness and vengefulness. They showed then, and now, great resilience during the hardest and saddest of times. Looking out, and caring for, one another and those around them – seen today by the work going on with refugees and asylum seekers in and around the Coventry area. Although I don’t live in the city itself, I’m not far away and am proud to be associated with Coventry, it’s Cathedral and the wonderful people residing there.
So dear readers, be kind to one another, everyone we meet has had, or is going through their own struggles, a life story we know nothing about.
Be the blessing someone needs today, and may you in turn be blessed. ❤️😊