Sunday, 18 August 2019

He Sitteth Between The Cherubim

If you read Dorothy Sayers "Nine Tailors" mystery, you will recognise this quote from Psalm 99, a significant clue for sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, involving the carvings high in the nave of a Fenland Church. When medieval craftspeople built our churches and cathedrals, to the glory of God, they added details at every level - even in places where they could not be seen by the regular worshippers.
In 2016, a Canon from Norwich Cathedral was in Rome, looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with his wife. He realised that he wanted people to be able to view the roof bosses of his home church. He originally considered bringing a ferris wheel, but that proved impossible. So the idea of a helter skelter at the end of the nave was discussed. And here it is
Despite a lot of negative comments, it has proved very popular [I couldn't get a ticket to ride] The Cathedral staff want people to understand that as well as the opportunity to see the ceiling in a different way, it is also providing space for different ways to look at life and faith.
There is lots to see and do [see here]
Bob and I were impressed by the number of volunteers who were there to explain things, talk to visitors, and engage in conversations not just about history and architecture, but also about life and faith.
Yes, it would have been fun to climb the steps and stop at the top and study the ancient carvings more closely. I would have enjoyed sitting on a little coconut mat, and hurtling down the spiral path, screaming with glee.
But I was unable to do that. 
The great thing is that in a spiritual sense, we are unable to climb up to God - so he graciously came down to us, through the Incarnation. The joy of a brief helter-skelter ride does not compare with the lifelong joy of a relationship with Jesus.
Well done Canon Andy Bryant for an innovative way of helping to share the good news. 


  1. I saw this on the news, the other day! :)

  2. Bit like if Mohammed won't go to the mountain?It just doesn't look right to me in the surrounding beauty and sanctity of the church;tacky and fairground attraction-like and I'm not even a religious person.

  3. I'm too old fashioned for this - and the connection to the Manson murders puts me off as well. Keep cathedrals sacred is what I say. Cheers

    1. I didn't know anything about the Charles Manson thing, I'm not sure how many other people made a connection.

  4. It's strange how this has divided people. I think it's a nice idea for the "summer season" - if it brings people into the cathedral who wouldn't usually come, then it's no bad thing. I read people complained because it obscured the view of the stained glass window...and wasn't "reverent" enough. Your reader above is obviously of that train of thought. I'm not sure...

  5. As FD says, this has divided people (which is a little sad) I believe it was done with good intentions, and those who've visited have seen that it's been thought through carefully. But opinions have been divided about what is "proper" ever since Jesus walked in Jerusalem! The helter skelter has now been dismantled and taken away. Life continues...


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