I learned a bit more about the history today and how the tower fell in, hence the Victorian windows. I must admit that I prefer the plain light from the not-quite-clear-bluey-green glass in the unstained windows. It reminds me of the Chapter House in Worcester Cathedral.
We used the Book of Common Prayer today, which has some appropriately ancient readings in - but beautiful and relevant to today. I've just searched for the one we read by George Herbert, from the 17th century, when St Mary's was nearly 700 years old already. I can't find it, as there are 85 of his poems, but I found one that descibes how a place can become part of the experience of worship and help us transcend our mortality for a moment to have an eternal perspective. The photo is of the Crib Service, telling the old, old story last year. Mine is the smallest, sleepiest shepherd, wearing his tool belt so he could double as Joseph, the carpenter.
Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word?
He is a brittle crazie glasse:
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window, through thy grace.
But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie,
Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers ; then the light and glorie
More rev'rend grows, & more doth win:
Which else shows watrish, bleak, & thin.
Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and aw : but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
And in the eare, not conscience ring.