25 October 2010

St Martin In The Fields

I took this picture of St Martin in the Fields and realised that I'd never been inside.  (It doesn't lean, by the way, but I can't be bothered to photoshop the picture.)

If truth be told, the Wren Churches do little for me.  They are beautiful baroque spaces, wonderful paradigms for harmonious design, ideal venues for concerts, but something is missing: the Blessed Sacrament.  (Whoops!  It's by Gibbs, but the argument still holds.)

Perhaps I am being fanciful, but I think I can sense the difference between a Church in which Mass has been celebrated, however long ago, and one where it hasn't.  Now matter how reordered a pre-Reformation, I can always visualise how Mass could be said today, how little would have to be changed.

I must confess though that two things caught my eye and made me think that something very good was going on here.  The first was that there was a large group of down and outs in the church, each occupying one of the box pews in the side, enjoying the warmth, dozing, most of them, and appreciating the beatiful baroque space in a much less aesthetic but a lot more practical way than me.

The second was the window behind the altar.  I am not the greatest fan of modern art, and the idea of messing up the window in a Wren church sounds preposterous, but in there, this morning, it worked.


Mike Cliffson said...

Totaly irrelevant:
That window looks like an inverted version of the test I do to see how my macular degeneration is progressing.Disturbing.

Richard Collins said...

Ttony, you were only a hop and a skip from The Angel pub in St Giles High Street (next to St Giles CoE church).
This was the last stopping off point en route to Tyburn; the pub was then called The Resurrection Gate (apt).
I have a pint there when in London in honour of our Martyrs!

Anonymous said...

Of course, St Martin-in-the-Fields isn't Wren. It was built by James Gibbs in 1721-1726. And I'm pleased that you think the window works. I think that it's stunning.

Chelliah Laity said...

The window provides something to focus on, a distraction, when proceedings/talks become a bit of a yawn.