Religious Icons

I’m largely “neo-pagan” in my orientation towards spiritual matters. We’re also called “tech pagans,” in the quest for a naming convention. There’s a healthy dose of imagery in my body of work that clearly points to Catholic roots. Closer to old Mexico, the stronger it gets. I was raised in a fairly liberal Methodist church, not that it matters, just my early indoctrination.

The spiritual seat of the UK, and I’d suggest the wide-world should be, in my mind, Westminster-Abbey. Seat of the Church of England, a good, state-subsidized religion. No separation of church and state. Outside the Abbey, walking over from the tube stop, I overheard another tourist complaining, “They charge here, in France, they didn’t charge to see the inside.”

My favorite place to get a shot of grape juice and a cracker? Holy Communion at noon, at Westminster Abbey. It’s the best church service I’ve ever been to. Starts at 12:30, out by 1. I was jet-lagged and confused the first day, and the lady in front of me was hacking up a lung cookie, so I passed on the grape and cracker. Did it the next day, though. All the pomp, circumstance, solemnity and grace required. My hardy pagan friends writhe in agony at the thought of me in a church, much less taking communion. I tend to think of this as “high communion,” to be followed with high tea. Love the British, ritual and manners rule the day.

It’s kind of a tourist service, but it’s also a real ritual. Lit a candle for my dad; stayed for the wine and wafer; stand up, sit down, ‘call and answer’ prayers.

The call it ‘The Nicene Creed,’ and I thought it was called the ‘Apostles’s Creed,’ call it what you want, words are similar. Not the same, but close enough, if I were looking at a copyright law, I’d call them the same. Good thing there’s no copyright on the religions, that would start a war.

Forgot it was Lent. Lot of regulars. Forty days and all. If I lived there, I would go five, six days a week. The clergy is cool, the message is brief and upbeat, the grace is divine. It’s one of the few services that I can count on being what it is supposed to be, powerful, uplifting, and healing. Short and to the point.

I watched as one of the holy guys, I remember him from several years ago, I recalled his face, I watched as he recited what was in the bulletin, by heart. Just something reassuring about the same ritual and words.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sarah Mar 10, 2010 @ 9:41

    There’s something about the familiar ritual, high church, call and response, the old prayers that evokes an early feeling of awe, reverence for … I don’t know the word (all the good ones have been used, with attendant connotations) … Spirit, the Universe, Light. I don’t know. It’s beyond words, though I must say yours do it justice. I could almost smell the incense. I get the same “high” outdoors, in the mountains, on the lake, the same feeling of being in touch with something greater than myself, the interconnected web of life.

    Writing/talking about it always makes me want to write/say something dorky, just so y’all don’t think I’m getting spiritual on you.

  • Sandee Mar 10, 2010 @ 13:16

    Love it, love it, love it…especially about the “high communion”. GREAT article.

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