For the first time, the Cathedral participated in les Journées de la culture, a nation-wide celebration of arts and culture (called Culture Days in other parts of Canada). We welcomed thousands of people through our doors for tours, workshops, music performances, displays of historical treasures and contemporary vestments. Two outdoor receptions, one of which was a proper English cream tea, filled out what was a very full and very fun weekend.
It was also a weekend of faithful Christian witness – and not only during the always moving Evensong service on Sunday afternoon. For too long, the church has seemed to have only two modes: in charge or absent. Come to our services and do it our way – or just don’t come. Let us help you – but don’t tell us how to do that. Even when we do begin by listening to what is wanted or needed in our community, we seem to assume that providing for that want or need is up to us.
The truth is, the world around us has figured out how to take care of themselves. Community centres, arts collectives, food pantries, co-operatives, civic events…we no longer hold the centre of common life. This isn’t to say we don’t have a treasure of great value to share with the world but we bear the greatest witness to that treasure when we follow the example of Jesus, God-with-us, who entered fully into the joys and sorrows of human life on our terms.
Participating in les Journées de la culture is faithful Christian witness because it follows Jesus into the community, rejoicing in the beauty of human creativity and the joy of sharing this wonderful city. It announces that the church loves the city and invites the city to love the church back. God, after all, loves them both.