In the early mist of morning, monks wading ashore. Sunlight on the landing stage. They have come from down-river.
There is a settlement here already, small huts, woven fences for animals; some fishing, a few acres of crop.
The water is cold on bare feet, but the land is stony, hard packed, solid.
This is the place. This is the place where God is. This is the place where the broken feet of Christ will stand.
All those running feet. Bringing prayers and petitions. Carrying coffins for the dead. Brides walking with dignity into new responsibilities. Every anxiety whispered into the wood and stone. Unknowing children, borne in arms for the dove to alight upon them in beads of water. Wine and wafer, dry tasting on the tongue, the ambrosia of immortality. Music and words: curling around the beams and the bright windows. The footprints of family and belonging. The touch of cold stone, and all the knots of birth, life, death patterned for eternity.
Hands raised in assent on Doomster Hill, and raised to lift the metal plates and strike the rivet in Doomster’s sheds. High up, higher than ever the hill was, on gantries of wooden or metal poles, they do their work . Fists raised in anger, labour strikes, domestic blows, raising glasses for the pleasure of doing, being, raising glasses for ruin and pain. Voices raised in well-loved hymns, voices raised in frustration. Men calling from the high ships, men murmuring as the hooter calls, and all pour through the wide gates onto the street.
Women shopping, chattering, cleaning, boiling whites in steam as hot steel furnaces. Dragging water-weighted blankets, pushing them against the drag into mangle-rollers. Carrying: miscarrying: carrying shopping, carrying children, carrying furniture from house to house, paying rent, making excuses for not paying rent, carrying heavy irons, scalding to the touch.. Ekeing out money when the hammers fall silent and the men waste their days and strength in bars and clubs.
Civic pride, shops with hats for weddings, and town halls (no less than two), schools where children can learn to cross the globe finding work in new worlds, on Canada’s lake-oceans and Cheltenham, in Sydney, Johannesburg, and Auckland. Lectures, here at the Pearce: on sewing, on making a little income go a long way, on new scientific discoveries, on philology - on hard benches. Sermons kindly or hectoring, hopeful or damning, on hard pews.
Broken pieces: families laid waste, children bruised, knowing little, knowing no love or patchy love at best, without the verb to work, without the doing skills. Buildings fallen into shabbiness and disuse, industries moved on: the unwanted left behind.
This is the place where God is: this is the place where the broken feet of Christ will tread; in all the fallen, broken, renewing, restoring, warp and weft and hope of living.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Thanks to Rev. Moyna McGlynn from Govan Old Parish Church for this wonderful contribution and for reminding us of what a special place Govan remains to be, despite all it's problems. T.