Running for Christ

28 June 2013

WHEN the Assistant Bishop in Llandaff, the Rt Revd David Wilbourne, sent me an account of a schools' day in Llandaff Cathedral, together with a couple of pictures, he did not tell me what he and another priest were doing racing up and down the aisle.

It is true that he encouraged some of the children there to run: the fastest boy from the west door to the Majestas (the Jacob Epstein sculpture), running as the shepherds ran to Christ at Bethlehem; and the fastest girl to run from the Majestas to the west door, as Mary Magdalene ran from the Easter garden to tell the disciples she had seen her risen Lord. But the Bishop and his colleague? Perhaps they were just pacing the course.

Over the past year, he tells me, the top class of nearly all the 22 church schools in the diocese have spent a morning in the cathedral, bringing personal prayers, singing worship songs, dressing as bishops, hunting for treasures and saints, and learning about the cathedral's resurrection after being flattened in the war. They have also climbed the tower, and rung the bells.

"There has been lots of laughter, lots of activity, and lots of [metaphorical] pennies dropping, as the cathedral has made links with their faith and lives." As for the running, they took their cue from the letter to the Hebrews: "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us."

"There ought to be more running in church, not less," Bishop Wilbourne says. "Why do we make everything so sedate, as if the gospel had no urgency, no thrill about it?"

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