Monday, July 25, 2011

Breaking glass



'So what will you do after this?' someone asked me following the funeral this afternoon. 'Do you have more work to do?' This was around 3 pm. I smiled.
'Well, I've pretty much been going non-stop since Friday morning,' I replied. 'I think I might go home, have a cup of tea, and spend some time in the bosom of my family.'

A few minutes later I was home. I did have the cup of tea in my hand when the phone rang. Vandals had been at one of the other churches in the parish. Windows had been smashed. It looked like they might have gotten in. I looked at my watch. I had only been home ten minutes.

The gardai were called & the premises duly inspected. The damage was a lot less than feared. Some mullioned windows in the side porch was smashed, but none of the lovely old stained glass that's literally irreplaceable hadn't been touched. And having smashed the window, the vandals gave up & never actually went in.

Piecing the story together, it looked like they had done their 'work' around 3pm. Broad daylight with people coming and going in the church yard and surrounding area. One of my sons had come with me to help clear up.
'I don't understand,' he said. 'What was the point?'
'There's no point,' I told him. 'That's what vandalism is. Destroying stuff for no reason.'

It seems to me there's a peculiar irony in vandalising churches. In modern life, a lot of people seem to do without organised religion in their day to day life. But most, at some deep level, find a profound need for the rituals that religion provides at the important moments of their lives. Not all, of course, but a lot. Perhaps the vandals are among those who will feel the need for the church one day. I wonder if they will remember today when that time comes?

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