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Lay for the Day
3rd July

The feast of St Thomas the apostle, ‘Doubting Thomas’. Ancient tradition says Thomas travelled to India, where he was martyred at Mylapore, near Madras. When the Portuguese reached India in 1522, they found his tomb there. As early as the 9th century, from as far away as the kingdom of Wessex, in what was not yet called England, King Alfred the Great recorded sending alms “to India to St Thomas”.
Thomas is sometimes represented with a builder’s T-square, referring to a legend that he built a palace for a king in India. Hence he is a patron saint of architects, builders and carpenters.
From the book of Praises:

83. Of a Builder

She’s climbing in the quick of night
Diagonally up the air,
Legs uppermost. Caught in the light,
She’s no bigger than a snowflake
Floating, symmetrical and white,
Along a thread as fine as hair
Her glimmering haste doesn’t shake.

A pendulum behind its glass
Keeps nudging the dark into day,
A small wakeful sun of dull brass.
A good two feet, from the lampshade
To the dried poppies in a vase,
She’s stretched her fragile founding stay –
A larger plan than Cheops made.

John Gibbens
from Collected Poems

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar