OK so here’s an early thought from my experience so far… Why did people make pilgrimages to the shrines of Alban, Swithun, Beckett and Etheldreda? As I have said before – a few reasons – but up top among the reasons, a belief in the power of dead saints – either through the intercession of that saint OR by sheer proximity to their bones – God would bring healing. Actually, God seems not to get much of the credit from the actual pilgrims – more often, the saint.
To put it bluntly, I don’t believe either of these things so how can I expect to feel what they felt?
The strongest feelings I have felt have been in response to what both Canterbury and St Albans have done with the commemoration of modern martyrs – why? – I suspect it is because this is something I strongly believe is true in what Christ has down us of God – sacrificial love.
The medieval church did something the church almost totally fails to do today – offer something that deeply captures the imagination of the common man and woman – such that they would literally crawl on their knees over stone floors to experience it – and yet is something we can all attest is a deep and fundamental truth about God witnessed in the life of Jesus Christ..
What on earth would such a truth look like and what on earth would an experience designed to capture it in the common imagination look like it the 21st century?
Feel free to offer your answers and I shall put together some proposals for consideration by the URC!