Monday, February 18, 2013

Grace Cathedral: a place of religious immunity, anonymity and unity

From The Telegraph-

This past week I've been in a sunny, blue-skied San Francisco playing Liszt's 2nd concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Pablo Heras-Casado. The hotel at which I was staying was quite close to Grace Cathedral and I would pass by it at least twice a day on my way to rehearsals or concerts. It is an imposing structure on one of the city's many imposing hills and I finally found the time a couple of days ago go inside for a visit.

I was struck by two things: firstly, as I walked through its front doors, it was less visually overwhelming inside than I was expecting; but secondly, and more importantly, as I sat down in the AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel immediately to the right of the entrance, I became aware of this Cathedral's mission of inclusivity. I was disarmed and deeply moved by the sheer sense of acceptance symbolized by this small room devoted to the memory of those who died from a modern plague.

It hit me: We are loved: before accepting, after rejecting. Always. It was palpable – a sense (if God exists) of what God has to be like; and faith (which is really 'trust', not ticks down a list of doctrinal propositions) has to begin with a safe space. Grace Cathedral is one of the safest spaces I've encountered, a realization not unrelated to something I wrote last year on this blog about Anglican thresholds and Evensong.

More here-


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