Weekly Reflection – Close encounters of the cathedral kind!

20 July 2022

Canon Jayson

The next time you visit or worship in Wakefield Cathedral I invite you to look for, and so to encounter a perspective or feature of the building you have not seen before. There might be a note of memorial up high on a wall or a detail in the stonework you have not examined. The task could be as easy as arriving or leaving from a different door or choosing a new area to sit from which to encounter God.

Such an invitation is currently somewhat easier with the Yorkshire Sculptors Group Exhibition that is entitled ‘Assembly’. The exhibition, in the cathedral until the end of August, includes a perspective on Genesis called ‘Fatal Attraction’, the figure of an astronaut entitled ‘Angel’ and another called ‘Knives Out’ that tells of female power and retribution. Art blurs what might be called the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’ and can invite us to respond as we engage our critical thinking and possibly our imagination to the encounters we have with the art. Such encounters with the art and the building may contribute to our faith journey by something as simple as silence.

The exhibition highlights how cathedrals are places of encounter – complex and large spaces that are always developing with new stories from pilgrims, visitors, musicians and artists. Theologian John Millbank writes how cathedrals can tell of diversity and incompleteness in a way that does not compromise the unity or purpose of a cathedral. Wakefield Cathedral can therefore be a place of hope, a place of lament, a place of questions and simply a holy place. Such a place is a gift to the city, the diocese, and the wider district of Wakefield and so is able to contribute to the common good of society. Your next encounter might be filled with either music, art or contemplation. The next question might be to ponder what that encounter reveals of God.

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Wakefield Cathedral

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