Reflection: The Road of Faith – Anonymous
Over thirty years ago I felt a great pull to the Church, and to the Cathedral in particular.
St. James Cathedral had been a part of the landscape of my life for some time – I walked by it at least twice a day before it came alive, to the forefront of my life.
The time leading up to the arrival on these doorsteps was both an exciting and frightening time in my life. I was not baptized as a baby or raised in the Church. It was a foreign place to me, yet at the same time deeply-rooted in my soul. It felt like coming home.
In the fall of 2018, Rev’d Leigh spoke in a homily about the smell of a home or church. That really resonated with me because when I finally walked in here for the first time it’s the smell I recall most. It was as if the incense of years past culminated in that one moment, with every parishioner who had gone before luring me in saying – this is your spiritual home.
That day I stayed for the midday Eucharist, not understanding the meaning of the liturgy or the correct posture to take. The service was led by Father David Bousfield, with whom I chatted momentarily following the service – which eventually led me to confirmation classes and baptism at the Easter Vigil that year by David. Life was great – I was on a high – being a Christian would make life so easy(!). I had this whole Christian thing in my back pocket. However, after my baptism, it felt as though I had been turned out into the desert. In retrospect, I had been fed a feast for what has turned out to be a very long and difficult journey.
I have come here more Sundays than not since and have been active in a number of roles on and off. The path to my faith also led me to the completion of an MDiv at Trinity College. To be honest, it has been a long and often frustrating road.
My faith is the cornerstone of my life – I would hazard to guess that may true for all of us. It keeps us upright.
Some of us come here in great fear and trembling – others in great joy and gratitude – and then those circumstances may transition at various times in our lives. At the cathedral we give, we receive – and sometimes we cling to dear life in this very building – when nothing seems to make sense, when we feel we don’t belong, when circumstances in our lives throw us down …we keep coming back every Sunday, if not more, to discover there is purpose in our struggles – and here we find hope in God’s Word, through prayer, worship, and music that calms and inspires. We are a family of faith and this fellowship helps to sustain us – and maybe we give that inspiration to others without even knowing it.
This is a place of tranquility in an often chaotic and troubled world. When I have an opportunity I like to come here and sit for a while – allow the silence to swallow me whole in the presence of God – God who may not be perceptible in a world that sometimes feels that it is about to spin off its axis. These walls whisper “Be Still and Know that I am God”.
When Vicar Louise asked me to offer a commentary on my faith and what the cathedral means to me I said, please don’t make me speak about money or budgets! While this area is not my forte I certainly understand the importance of finances, budgets and strategic plans. They sustain us as a viable entity.
There are other areas just as valuable – our time, our gifts, and our resources. Time is a very precious commodity these days when other demands press upon us with our jobs and our families. So giving time is tremendously important – never underestimate the gift of time.
Similarly, sharing our gifts is immensely essential in the life and stewardship of our parish. We all have gifts. Gifts differing. Some of us may be financially inclined – pastorally, musically, culinary, artistically inclined – and the list goes on. There are ministries here that are visible to the eye, and many that are not – yet are equally essential. No one gift overshadows another – but builds this wonderful Body of Christ sitting in front of me. Together we strive to nourish and strengthen members of the body who are vulnerable and suffering.
To this day I still do not really understand why I was called in such a profound way to this beautiful place of worship but I keep coming back to my spiritual home week after week to bear witness and carry the light out into the world.
From that time way back when I thought I had this whole Christian thing in my back pocket – it has since moved into my heart. And it is with the heart that one gives and sees rightly.