Archbishop Cranmer goes to Rhyme Time

I’ve been continuing to think about the experience of taking our grand-daughter, Eve, to Rhyme Time at the Library in Strathaven at the beginning of last week. Alison and I were happy to be just another pair of grandparents watching Eve enjoying the experience and gaining in confidence as part of the group.

We sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ and ‘Baa, Baa, Black sheep’. And there was ‘Row, Row the boat’. Bookbug had an outing on the magic and unbelievably stretchy Lycra and the children all joined in a circle holding onto Rapunzle’s Scrunchy.

Just half an hour. And it’s easy to see the point of it. Eve sings the songs when she comes home. The children become part of a group and gain in confidence. We are part of it too so it becomes an all-age experience – and a very effective one. A sort of liturgy.

I thought about that connection while I was sitting in church last Sunday – an unexpected collision with Prayer Book Matins. Immediately transported, I was back in my 1950’s childhood at Rossorry Parish Church and beyond that I heard the echoes of my clergy ancestors in the low-church evangelical past of the Church of Ireland. I love the language – indeed I could probably conduct worship without the aid of the book.

But I’m not so different from Eve. I’m looking for some bonding and belonging, something that helps me to grow up a bit and gain in confidence. Today’s worship has to do that for people who don’t have five generations of belonging in Cranmer’s wonderful language. That’s why worship leading becomes ever more demanding for clergy and laity alike.

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