Busy weekends recently and much variety. Saturday started with Kerry and Malcolm’s wedding in St Andrews. This was a somewhat Northern Ireland event with lots of old friends – and it was great to see them. We all did a bit of, ‘yurlukkinawfulwell’ and that sort of thing.
And on to St Mary’s, Dunblane for the licensing of Nerys as Lay Reader. This also was a pretty remarkable occasion where I stood in the middle and many interesting things happened all around me. It is a remarkable congregation – about to be looking for a new Rector following Janice’s retirement. They seem to have passed the ‘critical mass’ point in having children and young people around – and in involving people in ministry. And Nerys is both symbol and encourager of much of that. My favourite image of the weekend was Nerys saying ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ and using a gesture as if driving the congregation out of the church to do the work of mission.
This morning it was confirmations in Aberfoyle – we had that wonderful mix of family, grandparents, godparents and others who gather on these occasions. A good time was had by all – and Nick the walker was saying how much he had enjoyed every one of the 98 miles he had walked.
I normally do links to sermons and things but I realised during the weekend that I was getting somewhat behind. I pondered the all-purpose episcopal sermon, yet again. And wondered also if the sermons for the three events might be interchangeable – would they notice?
Which called to mind the elderly vicar in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Handful of Dust’ who had written his sermons while a padre in a garrison church in India. He continued to preach them unchanged in his retirement in a Sussex village: ‘Here we are far from our loved ones … ‘
Which further reminded me of Garrison Keillor’s Wobegon Boy in which the black Lutheran lady pastor used to squeeze members of her congregation during the Peace ‘as if testing them for ripeness.’