Volume 4 Number 1


Winter 2005


by Tristan Moss

Whilst doing research into early Christian heretics in Canterbury Cathedral library, I came cross a book of collected letters written by artisans to their sons. The book stated in its preface that these epistles were read once and then handed over to the cathedral authorities. They conveyed the wishes of generations of fathers, who died early from disease or hard work and exhaustion and didn't see their sons mature. The following lines exemplify the sentiments of these letters:

I write this letter knowing I will never see the end of the task I started. My working life has been taken up with this monument to God's glory. It has been said that it's the architect's mistake to think, because his plan is complete, that so is his building. However, it is this plan that has given my family food, shelter, and purpose. I could see the end without knowing it. This is why I say to you, my son, be a part of this plan, live as I have, and let it give you a role, a wife, and a child. Be part of God's glory . . . My life has been good, never wanting for anything. All this is yours, with the knowledge that one day one of your descendants will see the scaffolding removed; he will see the unveiling of the finished plan.

I put the letter back where I found it, walked out of the library and saw that the scaffolding was still standing -- a few workmen still chiseling away.