Raised and/or befriended by agnostics, Catholics, Protestants and Jews, it has forever been my fate to stand amid the tensions linking disparate faith communties. On Iona, I was constantly aware that I prayed in the ruins of a Catholic community destroyed by Reformation Presbyterians and then 500 years later recovered and rebuilt by a Protestant community. The Glasgow Cathedral is the only one on mainlaind Scotland left completely intact in the wake of the Reformation chaos that produced my own Presbyterian church. (The Glasgow Cathedral is Church of Scotland today.) In the cemetery above it, the words below a towering statue of John Knox, Reformation leader of the Protestant church in Scotland, attest to the torture and incineration of Protestants by Catholics during that period of unrest. Neither side, to put it mildly, emerges without blemish.
A cathedral, on its best days, is a haunting blend of light and shadow, reflecting perfectly, it seems, the community of Christ both then and now.