On one of the most important days in the Christian year, the bells of St Peter’s rang this morning. They did so the first Sunday we were here and haven’t for the last couple of weeks. It was a very pleasant start to the day.
Returning from our walk, we noticed the external doors to the church were open, allowing us to see through the internal – locked – glass doors to the inside. There was a drawing of a cave-tomb with the egg-shaped boulder that had covered its entrance rolled away. There were signs apologising for the locked doors, and copies of Daily Prayers to take away, with an invitation to follow services on Facebook (which is where I discovered that this morning’s tune was Jesus Christ is Risen Today).
In the lobby there was also this drawing. Whoever created it is very clever, not only to have drawn it (I’m always in awe of anyone who can wield a pencil, a paintbrush, even a pen, to create an image), but to have also made a very simple point using art. I’m certainly no expert in the world’s religions (although my brother-in-law is an expert in a couple of them) but this is a beautiful way of showing how easy it is to be tolerant of all of them.
I think it’s a running theme of this church. On 15th March, the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, I looked down to the lawned area between the church and our building. It was a myriad of colours and clothing. The latter is often an easy way to define a person’s religion or job (and sadly makes it easy to identify someone as a hate target) so I could tell that I was looking at many religions and offices. Ladies in hijabs chatted to ladies in twinsets; a man in a kippah shared lunch with a man in a long white garment I’ve seen Imams wear (a jilbab?). A turbaned Sikh and an orange-robed Buddhist wandered around greeting people; a man in a surplice (I presume the vicar) laughed with a full-dress-uniformed police officer (who must have been baking – it was a hot day).
The whole scene brought tears to my eyes, a group of humans with many different beliefs and worship practices coming together to remember those who had lost their lives in the act of paying homage to their God. Coexisting indeed.