Yes I’m feeling a bit better, thanks. But when I surfaced on Sunday morning, there was no way that I could have gone to Bridge of Allan for Christ the King and Confirmations and other delights. So we had to turn to the neighbours. And fortunately – Blogstead Episcopi being what it is – we are blessed with neighbours who are able to do Confirmations at the drop of a hat – as it were.
That of course brought us another of those preaching moments which I think we should do more of – when a sermon written by one is delivered by another. Sermons are such personal things – even if they proclaim the universal – that there is a delightful incongruity about the right sermon being delivered by the wrong person and vice versa. Fortunately – and somewhat surprisingly – I had already written every word so this is what Dom Ind delivered for me with footnotes and noises off.
While I was a bit slumped, I found myself watching those programmes of Choirmaster Gareth Malone bringing together a Choir of military wives – women whose husbands were on active duty in Afghanistan. My past life gives me a huge respect for what is sometimes called the ‘coping woman’. It’s the women who, against insuperable odds, keep life together for everybody else through some inner strength which women seem to possess more often than men. So I watched this through a mist of tears. Gareth said, ‘It’s music which has done this … ‘ I think that what he meant was that music had been a vehicle through which those women could bring to the surface and express in a controlled way what it felt like to be at home looking after your family and waiting for the knock on the door …… I thought about the links to what worship is or should be at its best – the first of the Nine Marks of Mission is ‘worship that renews and inspires’. Presumably worship like music should be a vehicle through which we express the deepest things in our lives in a way which cleanses, heals, renews.