Sunday, April 27, 2008

The LONG weekend


No posts for a while because I have been at boot-camp again, this time to Luther-King House in Manchester with just my year group.

This weekend was a follow on from the Easter-School theme of Christianity in a plural society. Now that I am at home I feel like a zombie in fog and have largely lost the power of rational thought, so before I start to drool.....

Saturday morning: Reformed Judaism. There is a little corner of my heart which is Jewish and despite the 80% Hebrew and 20% English split it was a lovely and deeply spiritual service. The congregation were delightful and very welcoming but, because it was the last service in Pesach, it was a LONG service.

Saturday lunch with a good pal and the purchase of a new shirt and tie, because I had forgotten to pack deoderant and tommorow is a Sunday best day.

How could I forget to pack deoderant? How could I have turned up in Manchester with T-shirts and jeans, not having considered the nature of the services we were attending? (Not that I was alone in that.) Friday's school shirt and tie, smart trousers and jacket were hastily retrieved from the boot of the car where I expected them to stay until Sunday night's homecoming. I scrubbed up a treat for the synagogue but that shirt would have walked home on its own had I worn it for a third day. I also, dear reader, topped up on deoderant courtesy of Lush in the city centre.

Saturday Afternoon and Choral Evensong at the Anglican Cathedral with a very LONG anthem. Don't get me wrong, no one does choral evensong like an English cathedral choir and it was perfection but to my mind I was at a music concert with added liturgy. Just enough time to leg it to the Catholic church for Mass with the wisest priest I have ever met (about to celebrate the GOLDEN jubilee of his ordination)and probably the LONGEST sermon I have heard in a long time! But what a sermon! A demand that in these days of creeping secularisation, Christian Scientists such as Polkinghorn, Flew et al should be heard. Music to my ears.

Sunday morning took us to an Orthodox church. What joyful Holy chaos as the Orthodox Easter was celebrated in English. What hospitality and welcome. What a LONG service, and yet a service I loved with all its symbolism, grounded in a beautifully delivered and very challenging sermon from a very charismatic and very human priest. This, like my Lutheran congregation, was a mini United Nations and I felt very much at home. There is a big corner of my soul which is Orthodox now. Thank you Father Gregory Fr. Gregory's site and thank you to your congregation for the feast.

One theme of the weekend: at every service except Choral Evensong, the Big Bang was mentioned. It was mentioned in a positive way. No slavish adherance to Biblical literalism here but a clear understanding of a Transcendent God who will not be constrained by the common scripture of three great faiths. Most encouraging. Let's hear it for Aquinas and The First Cause.