Today at our regular Thursday Communion we remembered Thomas Becket, who was martyred on Dec 29 1170. Perhaps we ought to make more him here – he was Provost of Beverley in 1154, and did this well enough to be commended to Henry as Chancellor of England soon afterwards. The rest is history; and I rather like the fact that Beverley has its own saint – John, our founder – as well as a saint among its ‘incumbents’.
Canon Terry Munro, who was preaching this morning, took ‘pilgrimage’ as a theme. On this earth we never arrive; we journey in company; and we find places along the way where the hope of our arrival seems much more tangible. Thomas Becket, in any visit he will have made to his Minster, will already have found it a place of pilgrimage: John had been canonised a century before. In reaching this destination, as people were later to journey to Canterbury, we have a foretaste of our arrival in our heavenly home.
Beverley Minster is a pilgrim place, and we encapsulate this it in the Retroquire. Here is to be found a remarkable installation. Two figures, fragmented people on the way to wholeness, strain towards a window, in which a zig zag path leads to blinding yet welcoming light. In each figure is a heart made of the same glass as the window. As pilgrims we journey towards that which we already know.
The installation (which comprises other pieces as well) is the work of Helen Whittaker, o
Pilgrimage can sometimes be overdone as a picture of the Christian life. The Retroquire makes the whole thing a source of challenge, hope and wonder.