Westminster Abbey, Day 5

“How then can mortal tongue hope to expresse the image of such endlesse perfectnesse?” (text from A Hymn of Heavenly Beauty by Edmond Spenser; setting by William Harris)

These words, which concluded Friday’s anthem, raise a fair question:  how are we to convey the beauty and goodness and perfection of God who exceeds all things?  Certainly, the splendor of the Abbey point us in one direction.  For centuries now, millennia actually, men and women and faith have established and adorned places of significance to retell and reveal the story of God’s goodness in creation.  Westminster, of course, does this with remarkable grandeur – from the fan-vaulted ceiling of the Lady Chapel to the remarkable detail of the Cosmati pavement beneath the high altar.

Better yet, of course, are the stories we tell and the prayers we raise.  As we relate stories of kindness and sacrificial love, and as we lift prayers that join our hearts to those in need and despair, we tell a story of remarkable beauty, for it is the story of God’s activity in the world.  When these stories and prayers are offered in song, as the Schola has done these past days, the become better still.

There is only one better way which remains – to live such stories and prayers ourselves.  As we live lives of sacrificial love and kindness, as we lift the needs of others in prayer, and as we strive for the dismantling of all that destroys or oppresses the lives of others both near and far, then we shall have done our best to “expresse the image of such endlesse perfectnesse.” 

Fr. Drew