I’ve never quite decided what ‘label’ Barry and I could categorise ourselves with in regard to ‘religion’. Maybe we’re not completely aligned, though I strongly suspect we are. Birds of a feather and all that. It’s one of the reasons we connect. I’d postulate we’re ‘Atheists‘, as in we ‘… don’t believe in the possibility of the existence of God, or any supposed ‘Deities’. I strongly suspect my own beliefs lie towards Buddhism, Paganism (in a nature-loving way), and Humanism. Goodness, there’s a few ‘isms’ there! I especially align with and relate to the following sentiments, from ‘Humanists UK‘ …
“Throughout recorded history there have been non-religious people who have believed that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They have trusted to the scientific method, evidence, and reason to discover truths about the universe and have placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making.”
Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
~ trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
~ makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
~ believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.”
That being said and acknowledged, with no offence intended to those who do ‘believe’, Barry and I relish visiting churches and cathedrals fairly frequently! Despite our non-religious views, we can and do appreciate the beatific architecture and other-worldly presence of these buildings. I guess we just wish they didn’t involve references to ‘God’. Ridiculous I know. But that’s how we see it in our world view.
We initially visited Lincoln together by narrowboat in 2009, but chose not to venture inside its Cathedral. This time we were keen to do so, despite the cost (and we’d missed the timing for free Sunday entry!) We weren’t disappointed. It’s a magnificent building, which has changed greatly over the centuries.
First work incredibly commenced in 1072. Since then the building suffered firstly the effects of fire, and then unbelievably a massive earthquake in 1185 destroyed all but the West Front, which can still be seen today (having lived in ‘The Shaky Isles’ of New Zealand for eight years, this was quite a revelation that buildings could be so badly damaged in England!). In 1237 the Central Tower collapsed and wasn’t replaced until 1311. Fast forward a few hundred years, and Cromwell consciously causes significant damage to the Cathedral during a siege in 1644. And on the story reads until the present day, when we witnessed carvings at the West Front under restoration.
Walking across the way from the Castle around 3.30pm on Tuesday last week, we were thankful most of the Cathedral remained open until 6pm (the Castle closed at 4pm). Wandering around in wonderment, we knew we’d need to return to make the most of our ticket and experience, and vowed to return the following day for a ‘Floor Tour’.
During our initial visit I spotted a colourful leaflet for ‘Rick Wakeman Live Portraits’ – a concert scheduled for the following evening. It’s a bit of a standing joke between Barry and I that we generally arrive somewhere just as an event has finished, or we’re leaving just before one commences (like arriving Sunday evening and not able to benefit from free Cathedral entry). To have something align with our itinerary is a gift – from the Gods maybe? I’d rather believe it was the Universe shining down on us, whatever that means. Or more realistically plain old synchronicity – as I’ve said before, we were just in the right place at the right time which happens. More often than most of us admit or remember I suspect.
I adore the acoustics in Cathedrals, and drag Barry along to Carol Concerts at Christmas whenever possible. Noticing there was ‘Evensong’ on at 5.30pm, and we were there late, I suggested we stay. Being somewhat of a Heathen (I realise I’m muddling all these terms somewhat!), I wasn’t exactly sure what ‘Evensong’ was, I just wanted to hear the Choir singing soulfully in the Cathedral! We did. They were spine-tinglingly-splendid. The rest of it we weren’t quite so au fait with (actually Barry was I think, having been brought up as a Catholic much to his disdain, Sunday was the day he and his brothers relished jumping out of bed early and disappearing adeptly he tells me!). It was nonetheless an experience we’ll remember with fondness.
Anyway, that’s more than enough rambling. Here’s a pictorial story of our memories …
Wow! This place definitely deserves the accolade of being one of the finest Cathedrals in England.
The Lincoln Imp
This little legend deserves a mention, not least because I discovered a stone Lincoln Imp on the wall to the side of the door in my mum’s kitchen last night! Some of my dad’s family resided in this fine city, and he visited there frequently as a boy and a teenager especially after his father died when he was 14 years old. Mum says ‘Uncle Albert’, who dad often stayed with and I remember visiting him and Aunty Amelia when I was a child and teenager, gave them the Imp.
“Hidden in the upper reaches of Lincoln Cathedral you’ll find a symbol of the city surrounded by myth and legend: the Lincoln Imp.
Legend has it that one day the Devil was in a frolicsome mood, and let out all his young demons to play.
After having allegedly stopping at Chesterfield, twisting the spire of St Mary and All Saints Church, a group of imps went to Lincoln and planned to wreak havoc in the city’s stunning Cathedral.
Mischievous activities in Lincoln included knocking over the Dean, smashing the stained glass windows and destroying the lights. To put a stop to any further chaos, an angel appeared from the Bible left on the altar and commanded “Wicked Imp, be turned to stone!”
Some imps managed to escape, one of which is said to be found at St James’ Church in Grimsby.
However, one imp remained, hurling insults and stones at the angel. The angel responded in kind, turning the imp to stone where it sat and it can still be seen there today.” https://www.visitlincoln.com/lincoln-cathedral/the-lincoln-imp
How fortunate were we to hear not only the choir singing angelically in this majestic building, but also he sound of a Steinway Grand Piano being played perfectly – and feeling the frisson of excitement ‘meeting’ the humorous and highly talented Rick Wakeman as he walked past us. Barry even captured a few photos of his outstanding live performance – to come in part three soon …