Hello Mes Braves
I’m a bit jumpy writing this. I’m the only person in the house and we have mice. Or a mouse – I don’t know – I’m trying not to name and claim them. I just keep thinking I am seeing one out of the corner of my eye and sometimes – horror of horrors – I am. Arrrgh! We have traps all over the place (well everywhere the dog isn’t likely to get his nose nipped). He is no help either, just occasionally sitting up straight because he hears something then snuggling back down. They are cocky beggars too; peeping out from behind the telly. My nerves are in shreds.
I thought I might catch you up on our nascent C of E experience. We are still just going in and sitting down. We are very smiley and enthusiastic hand shakers but that’s about it. We have been to a few family services which are heavy on the children’s experience which is fair enough. You can tell this service has a “more relaxed” approach because the vicars are in trousers rather than the white cassock things. (I apologise – I am still working on the language) Because of HOH’s shifts ministering to the sick of the palsy, we have been to some of the more traditional services as well as they run a bit earlier. These have people walking in with a big cross at the beginning and we follow a service word for word. As a lifelong non-conformist I am more used to a bit more free-form in the services (Although I do remember from my youth that Mrs Sketchley did get up and pray exactly the same prayer every week) Anyway – these are some of the things I am thinking.
We have sung some lovely hymns. Songs with the most beautiful words and I have not sung them since I was a child. I am struggling with the amount of hymn books needed for the traditional service. Three last week. Who knew there were so many hymns? The preaching is a lot better than I expected. (Blimey, that’s patronising) I would have taken notes a couple of times but I don’t think that sort of thing is done. HOH , who is actually kinder than I am and therefore better socially, actually struggles with the “The Peace”. Are you supposed to say it back? At the moment, we are sort of saying it without moving our lips so it’s coming out a bit “Peucceuuce eee wiihtht Yeuuugh.” I also have to admit, I still haven’t taken communion there. I am not that comfortable at the moment with kneeling at an altar.
There is something there though. A sense of place. A sense of peace. A chance to sit down. Mentally and spiritually. We go and we listen. We watch and we are aware of a sense of history and not in a bad way. However things turn out, I am aware that I have been snobby in the past about this branch of the Christian church. Maybe feeling it was irrelevant and ageing. Although, I don’t think I ever actually articulated those thoughts. On the age thing – there is no doubt that, in the early service at least, it is an older congregation than I am used to. Yet, this morning as I watched people go up for communion, I found it very moving. I watched people on sticks and walkers. A couple of people in wheelchairs and those with aged bent backs. I watched arthritic fingers hold a communion cup and was struck by lives given over to God’s service. People who have, quietly, without fanfare worked within their church which they had known all their lives. I kept thinking that I was seeing “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” personified. I think that sometimes, younger, groovier Christians who seek to be more “relevant” to people may scoff (a bit) at these people. I’m convinced that God sees this quiet service and to him it is as precious as anything else that is being offered.