Juno was a cat who knew what contemporary worship was all about… following the movement of any warm rays that shone into her home. Cardiff is not internationally known for its high sunshine quotient, so this act of worship required a depth of spirit and a persistence from deep down in the soul.
So this got me reflecting on the current state of worship in my native city. With the sounds of a slightly out of tune bell-ringing practice resounding from St. Mary’s Church on Bute Street, I thought about the spiritual foundation of this once thriving maritime city being located somewhere ‘down the docks’. So perhaps the newly minted Cardiff Bay would be the place to investigate the changing face of contemporary worship. Traditionally worship has needed a place, usually in the form of a church…
The Norwegian Church was originally built to meet the spiritual needs of Scandinavian seamen during their stay in the port of Cardiff. But a cursory knowledge of the area (aka being an old git) immediately indicates it is not located today where it was originally erected. True, its water-side setting on the Bute West Dock was seriously disrupted when the dock was firstly closed, secondly filled in, and finally built over with residences and a dual carriageway! So relocation would surely be for reasons of accommodating the recognised ley lines of the spiritually inclined. Well, perhaps not, as that would be forgetting that a new source of 21st century worship is… um… coffee!
With coffee challenging for the mantle of a dominant religion, I wondered what might offer any competition. Look no further than 100 yards from the altar of the bean… Is it sharp? Is it groovy? Well, yes to both of those; but is it a home of worship? Katradius is an imposing marbled neighbour to the Senedd, home of Welsh government.
And it conveniently represents everything that contemporary politicians seem to worship… mammon. Such outward projections of ostentatious élan are hardly within the purview of your modern day happy clappy’s! For here lies the home of corporate finance, nonchalant in its lack of connection with everyone else who passes it by; pointedly projecting to the watery horizon beyond the enclosed bay upon which it sits (and no doubt slurps from the secretive and exclusive pond for the already bloated and bounteous).
Perhaps there is a spiritual sign, at the mid-point between coffee and dosh, as I stroll bayside in deep contemplation of what became of the historic fire and brimstone tradition of Welsh methodism. No, it was not the new location of spiritual leadership and guidance, cunningly placed next to a car park. It is the World Peace Statue, with no less a message of deep calling for the secular masses who pass it by often oblivious to its presence.
Was I really having these deeply philosophical reflections? Or, in reality, was I just imbued with Juno’s other main source of worshipful activity… contemplating the next meal! Strange that, because a cursory glance across Mermaid Quay illuminates the other modern day focus of our worship…
Until we speak again may your worshipful exertions bring you whatever nourishment floats your boat!