We have been loaned four lovely banners to display during for the duration of our Earth Songs: Music for Climate Justice series. Look for them in the Nave and read on for the history of how they got here.
A Symphony of Hope
Written by The Reverend Canon Herbert O'Driscoll & Paula O'Driscoll
Feb 9, 2022
From time immemorial the fabric of creation has been understood as woven from four great elements – EARTH : AIR : FIRE : WATER. The ancient Greeks knew them to be essential to our understanding of life. Later on they became prominent in the thinking of early Buddhism. In our own lifetime, as we become profoundly aware of the fragility of the planet before the insatiable demands of our own humanity, these four images have become universal. In the 1980s a series of Christian Festivals were held across the Anglican Church of Canada. One of these festivals was held in the diocese of Calgary. That year saw many people drawn into preparing for the event, delighted to share their expertise in arts and crafts.
Among the many expressions of faith were four magnificent banners, each one an expression of one of the four great timeless elements of Creation – EARTH : AIR : FIRE : WATER; each designed and crafted by gifted parishioners from a group of parishes, they formed a magnificent backdrop to the worship of the Festival. From time to time the banners have been used to grace various gatherings in their own diocese. In recent years they have been in the shared care of Christ Church, Elbow Park and the parish of St Peter’s. They have now been generously shared with our congregation, not only to grace the Cathedral itself and its worship, but to be striking images linked to a six concert series called Earth Songs: Music for Climate Justice that will be performed from mid February to Mid June. The glory of music, magnificent stained glass and beautifully fabricated banners will together form a symphony of Hope.
While the task of hanging the banners was being carried out, it was noticed that the Creation theme of the banners echoed that of the great window in the Chapel of the New Jerusalem. The window expresses the theme of a transformed Creation in which the City of Humanity has found a reconciled relationship with the natural creation that surrounds and interpenetrates it as river and trees. In the great window, Nature and Technology have found a symbiotic unity. To express this link between window and banners, the latter have been hung in such a way that they extend the beauty of the window into the Cathedral nave.
"The angel showed me the River of the Water of Life flowing from the throne of God through the middle of the street of the City. On either side of the river is the Tree of Life with its twelve kinds of fruit, and the leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations."