In 1986 Queen Elizabeth asked Reverend Mayne to become the Dean of Westminster Cathedral. He served there until 1996. This Sunrise of Wonder, his joyous autobiography written in 1995 for his grandchildren about what it means to be human in a world filled with wonder, touched Cathy Snapp and Kitty Crenshaw so deeply that they took a chance and wrote to him in 2002, well before they had completed their first book. This is the lovely note they received from him.
Dear Kitty and Cathy,
Thank you so much for writing me about the book of Betty Skinner’s life. She certainly sounds an inspiring woman, and I’m sure that many will be helped and encouraged by what you eventually produce from such fine material. I will gladly remember your work and I wish you well in achieving your goal.”
With All Good Wishes
Yours Sincerely, Michael Mayne
This Sunrise of Wonder is his collection and reflection on the writers and artists whose gifts awakened the coming together of his own inner and outer worlds and his wonderful gift of seeing and sharing the extraordinariness of everything. The title was inspired by this G. K. Chesterton quote:
“At the back of our brains, so to speak, there is a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life is to dig for this sunrise of wonder.”
Reverend Mayne’s encouragement to all of us is to find the wonder in all of life and “listen with your full attention to those who, as it were, touch your sleeve and invite you to see what the landscape and the journey look like to them. And most especially those who have a kind of reverent and infectious wonder.”
Betty Skinner is one of those who touches our sleeve and calls us to awaken to the wonder within and all around us. In The Hidden Life Awakened she reflects on the reality of Love’s astonishing presence in the world:
Now, in the twilight of my years, I feel very pressed to encourage people who are on their spiritual journey to persevere, to trust God, and to not stop short of the goal—the gift of the Giver Himself, divine union. The gates of heaven are everywhere. Our part is to simply embrace and open to the new seasons of our inner and outer journey as preparation to receive this gift of Love. Divine union is for everyone, and the experiential knowledge of this Love and freedom is everything. At last, we are grasped by the hand of the Spirit and led into a wilderness free of distractions and temptations: a wilderness of trackless mystery, beauty, and sound. This is the ultimate food in the feast of our redemption—a foretaste of heaven.
Wondrous Love! ~Betty