Saturday, August 11, 2007

Alot on Coventry, the Reconciliation Church

Yesterday I went with one of my professors to Coventry Cathedral. That is where Lady Godiva rode naked on her horse through the city streets. She threatened her husband that she would do it if he didn't lower the taxes- he didn't so she rode and then he did.
The town was a manufacturing center during WWII and made military supplies so obv it was a blitzkrieg target. The Germans bombed it in 1940 and the cathedral was destroyed. When they were going through the rubble, a man spotted two wooden beams had fallen into the shape of a cross (kinda like Trade Center cross in the metal beams) and he bound them and set them up behind what was left of the altar.
The people became very passionate about peace and forgiveness and reconciliation. Now, Coventry Cathedral has become a famous symbol for peace. We went to the litany service there where they pray for people and nations. The church members and clergy use this place as a base for so many awesome mission programs. They left the ruins of the medieval cathedral there and built a new one right beside it in 1956-62 in the modern architectural and artistic style. IT IS AMAZING. And the place is decorate with christian artwork from all over the world- a passionate madonna and child from a church artist in Stalingrad Russia, the largest tapestry in the world from a women in France (took 3 years to build) it covers the entire back wall and it is very modern looking- bright green, some picasso looking modern stain glass windows from a reconciliation group in Germany, a metal city-scape piece about diversity from a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, a crucifix from Czechoslovakia, and their baptismal pool is carved from a rock outside of Bethlehem, on of the most emotional and truly beautiful statues I have ever seen was made by Josefina de Vasconcellus- it called reconciliation and it is a bronze life size of a two people on their knees facing each other- each laying their head on the others shoulder with their arms around each others shoulders and head. 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." The sculpture was between a Jewish woman and German soldier. It makes me cry. It was outside in the ruins instead of in the new building. Oh and John Piper designed the main stained glass window inside. it is called "the Coming of the Glory of God" and it is set in 3-D panels so that you cannot see it until you get really far away from it. It is just a giant white-to-yellow round form surrounded by bursts of blue and red in weird shapes. It is hard to describe- actually impossible to describe- but I loved it. I stood there and just stared at it for a good 5 minutes. I don't know what to say. "The window represents the glory of God flooding into the world." The floor at the entrance of the new cathedral said in silver on black letters "To the Glory of God, this Cathedral burnt November 14 AD 1940 is now rebuilt 1962."
The ruins were beautiful. A wedding was ending there when we got there. I sat atop of what used to be a pillar in the middle and drew a sketched a few pictures. the bell tower is still up and it rings. Most of the windows are just bear frames but some have shattered glass still in it. There was garden in the back and that was very peaceful and lovely. my professor is not a Christian. we had a neat conversation about God and faith- we had a few hours on the bus.

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