Sunday, 7 September 2008

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Cathedral Service

I’m only here because I wandered in

Not knowing that a service would begin,

And had to slide into the nearest pew,

Pretending it was what I’d meant to do.

The tall candles cast their frail light

Upon the priest, the choir clad in white,

The carved and polished and embroidered scene.

The congregation numbers seventeen.

And awkwardly I follow as I’m led

To kneel or stand or sing or bow my head.

Though these specific rites are strange to me,

I know their larger meaning perfectly-

The heritage of twenty centuries

Is symbolised in rituals like these,

In special modes of beauty and of grace

Enacted in a certain kind of place.

This faith, although I lack it, is my own,

Inherent to the marrow of the bone.

To this even the unbelieving mind

Submits its unbelief to be defined.

Perhaps the meagre congregation shows

How all of that is drawing to a close,

And remnants only come here to entreat

These dying flickers of the obsolete.

Yet when did this religion ever rest

On weight of numbers as the final test?

Its founder said that it was all the same

When two or three were gathered in his name.

Peter Kocan

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