A New Heaven

Can you smell that?

It’s the sweet perfume of frankincense. It hangs heavy in the air today, a deep haze of smoke all over everything, lingering in my hair and my clothes. The best kind of scent memory.

St Marys Corpus Christi 26

Photography (and fairy lights!) by Gordon Smith

We take Corpus Christi seriously in Glasgow. Last year, just before he threw petals all over everything, Father Vice Provost called it a heritage, and indeed it is. It is who we are and where we come from and what we do. It’s Maundy Thursday, but without the barbarians. It’s what Maundy Thursday looks like on the other side of a resurrection, when we know, in a way that you find yourself not really knowing in Holy Week, that love will always, always be stronger than death.

But not too seriously. Not so seriously that we forget that a Corpus Christi faith is of the God of life and laughter and fabulous unremitting joy.

Bishop Kevin talked last night about celebrating the reality of God’s love, and where better to celebrate that reality than in a place where I have never ever ever doubted it?

There are times and places when the veil between heaven and earth is almost transparent. At sunrise over the Clyde and at sunset on the Thames. In the middle of the night in a room alone with a person who is no longer alive. In the middle of the night in a room with a dozen other people and a person who we are not going to allow to die, not now, not tonight. In the absolute darkness of the Serengeti, looking up at the Milky Way. Every day, in a cathedral on Great Western Road. The mist clears and the veil lifts and we catch a tiny glimpse of heaven.

And in the midst of a shower of roses, listening to the peals of the sanctuary bell, trying not to trip over things, watching the Body of Christ through the smoke, surrounded by the love of God and the love of his people, that heaven feels so close that I think I could reach through the haze of incense and touch it.

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