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This Week at St Mary’s 24 May 2020

Singing from the Church Tower

I’d never, before coming to Nottingham, experienced a service on a church tower. My first year, 2018, Health and Safety didn’t allow it as there was work going on to repair a broken wall in the bell chamber. But we were there on Ascension Day 2019. Quite an early start, some would say very early, for a good number of us, including choir, to sing of the Ascended Christ.

This year there is singing from the tower – but it’s young kestrels who are providing the music. Eggs were laid in a nest cosily tucked among the louvred windows. Duncan thinks the mother has decided it’s now time for them to ‘flee the nest’. Whatever the reason, loud chicks’ voices are to be heard.

Our early morning singing is yet another casualty of the current restrictions. It would have been perfect conditions. Like many of you, I feel deeply deprived of yet another highlight of the year. Ascension Day has been almost entirely forgotten by most people, so an imaginative ‘tower service’ helps a little restore it to its rightful position of prominence.

The young kestrels are saying something more to me. Praise and worship of God from a church building certainly continues. It’s an act of the whole of creation, in which humans (as a concession, given our track record) are urged to participate. Encouraging his monks to be up at dawn to worship, Bernard of Clairvaux comments that if the birds can do so with gusto, so can we. So we can, even if we still have to wait to be back in the church, let alone up on the tower roof.

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