Last week, as I sat in my study listening to the BBC world service on the radio, I found myself listening to excerpts of Young Miss T’s speech that was given in Italy. I am not a fan of young Miss T. I find her to be shouty, rude and blah blah blah! I know I am in the minority for young Miss T has been elevated to godlike status by both politicians and religious leaders.
As a Christian, I do not worship the creation instead I worship the creator and because of that I have a duty to care for all that God has created including the environment. I am not an eco warrior but I make a conscious effort to care for the environment in the way I live my life. I am not a vegetarian but here in the Vicarage we only buy organic or free range meat. We use the services of a milkman who brings our organic milk in a glass bottle. I recycle as much as possible and try to buy refillable packs where possible. We don’t make unnecessary foreign trips. Most importantly, I believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy where everyone and everything gets a rest. I hasten to add that my idea of a Sabbath rest is very different to that of strict Sabbatarians. You can read about it here.
In March 2020, during the first lockdown here in the UK , everything came to a standstill. During that period people reported of sightings of birds and animals that had disappeared years ago! People in the cities also talked about hearing birdsong for the first time ever.
Young Miss T is….. young😁 and therefore probably doesn’t realise that life is very complicated. For some people in the world, where they get their next meal is more important than the environment. The environment is just one of the many many issues that a world leader has to grapple with.
It is good important to raise awareness but obsession is unhealthy.
I always look forward to going to church on a Sunday but sadly not this weekend. I am nervous. Very nervous. Since freedom day, things have gone awry. Covid cases are going up and up. Among other chaos, shops and supermarkets are struggling to keep the stores open.
For myself, I am just not ready to be without a mask or have someone sit immediately next to me in Church or anywhere for that matter. I am also nervous for the Mhinisteir. He has a wedding tomorrow and I dread to think how folk will behave.
The disappointing thing is that among the folk in our umpteen parishes, I am among a very tiny minority who feels this way! The rest are clamouring for the full works including singing without masks!
As I entered our ancient church building for Sunday service, there was a certain buzz in the air. Rural churches are usually more OAP heavy and there tend to be more women than men. Our churches aren’t any different. We do have a handful of young people but they were not in church yesterday. I quickly gathered that the reason for the buzz was obviously the football match later that evening. I was very surprised as I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Since moving to England, I have never come across such excitement in church but then England have never qualified to the final of a men’s football tournament in many years.
I have never experienced this in Scotland either albeit for a different reason. There the people that I encountered in church felt that they shouldn’t be talking about “unholy” things on the Sabbath. Sadly, it was difficult to get them to talk about sports on other days too. The men I knew loved football. Rangers to be precise but felt that they couldn’t declare their love for football. I think it is very sad when one has to suppress their feelings in order to be religious! No wonder the heathen thinks that the God of the bible is a monster!
Anyway, back to our parishioners….. There was a 90 year old lady who was wearing England’s colour (Red and White). She looked so cute!!! In fact, there were quite a few of the ladies in red and white. I spoilt the party by turning up in something totally different!!!!!
Sadly, England lost the game but I will remember 11 July 2021 for a very long time because of the lovely buzz that I experienced in church that Sunday!!!!
One of the advantages of not having a television is that one gets more time to do other things, in my case it is to read.
Here in the Vicarage, we get the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Church Times, Sunday Times, Private Eye and Le Monde Diplomatique. The one most common theme in these newspapers/magazines is burnout particularly here in the United Kingdom.
The lockdown especially the first one brought some relief to some but the problem that is burnout is raising its head again. Working from home during the pandemic has exacerbated things for most people. There are no boundaries. Bosses expect their employees to be at their beck and call at ALL times since they are working from home. Recently when the Mhinisteir was visiting a bank, the teller told him that because they have done away with call centres in India, she has to do the job of a call centre worker on top of her usual duties!
We no longer have rest days like the olden days when Sunday was a day of rest. They still do in certain parts of Scotland especially the Highlands and in some countries that I have visited like Germany and France where shops are shut. Did you know that even shops like Tesco, Boots etc close on Sundays in certain parts of Scotland?? I for one firmly believe that we need to reclaim our day of rest. Sunday trading laws have been most unhelpful.
I am not at all suggesting that we all start going to church. As a Christian, It will be great if we did but I also believe that God gives us the freedom to choose our way of life.
By the way, if you plan to go to church on a Sunday, I would personally recommend a BCP service! It will be a great start to your Sunday!
I am not even suggesting that we shouldn’t watch television, wash our dishes etc like some strict Sabbatarians do. All I am suggesting is that we try and do things that we don’t do the other six days of the week. Make Sundays special like meeting up with family, cooking a nice Sunday lunch, going for walks or just catching up on sleep/reading. Initially it will be a bit strange but maybe not too strange because that is what we were doing during our first lockdown! Once you have reclaimed your day of rest, you would not want to look back again.
Could this be the answer to the problem that is burnout?
My Sundays are spent in church, usually twice, once in the morning and once in the evening for evensong. Since we are not allowed to sing, evensong has been replaced by evening prayer.
There is an earlier service but I prefer to go to the 11am service.
In Scotland, most church services start at 11am and I like that. I find 9.30am a bit too early. People in rural areas find that it is too early too. Why do they have it at that time then??? Sundays are meant to be a day of rest for goodness sake!
In one of the cities that we lived, the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) service was at 8am! Being a BCP person, I had to force myself to get ready for the 8am service. Sadly there were only a handful of us but I don’t think the time was a key factor in the poor turnout.
Thankfully because of Covid19, all services now resemble BCP services!!! Long may it continue!!!
There were two stories in the newspaper that caught my attention this week. One is that Standard Life Aberdeen is to be/has already been rebranded as “Abrdn” (to be pronounced as “Aberdeen”). Why create unnecessary confusion and bother?
The second is that Wimbledon is to do away with the mid-tournament “Sunday Rest”. The reason given is that the advances in watering technology and grass maintenance mean that the courts could withstand the full 14 day schedule. Really?
Did the Sunday Rest not come about because of our country’s Christian heritage in keeping the Sabbath day holy?
This reminded me of a story that I heard many many years ago. It is about a Hindu priest in a temple in India. There was a stray cat in his temple that was a menace bothering the worshippers who came to the temple. Out of desperation, the priest tied the cat to a pole. The priest died and a new priest took over at the temple. One day the cat died. Can you guess what the new priest did? He went to buy a new cat and tie it up the same pole!
Recently, I was in one of our parish churches for Sunday service. Unfortunately for me, the tablets that I was taking at that time was upsetting my stomach and causing me to be sick. However I didn’t want to miss church so I was thankful that this church has a loo unlike most of our parish churches.
When I entered the church, I informed the person on door duty that I might need the loo during the service as I know that the loo is always locked. I was quite shocked by what I heard next….
“Yes, that’s fine. When you need the loo, walk towards me, tap me on the shoulder, I will go behind the curtains and get the key for you!!!!” Honestly??? Why the palaver????????
Thankfully in the event, I didn’t need the loo!!!!!
Since the recent lockdown, there is hysteria among clerics and laity in the Church of England about Church closure. It appears that a strong majority in the Church of England would like the Churches to be closed during this lockdown. The reason given is it is for the care and protection of the community. I would think that it is exactly for that reason that the Church should be open for worship. Church is essential just like access to doctors. If and when the government instructs Churches to close then we must close the churches. The government has not asked the churches to close so I am not sure why this hysteria. The football matches are on and people have no problem going to the supermarkets where I imagine social distancing will be compromised. In our local village shop, there is never a drop of sanitiser in the dispenser. It is just there for show! I am not for once suggesting that Churches are Covid free but I think Churches are one of the safest places to be!
There is also this clamour for all Church services to be online. It certainly doesn’t work in rural parishes such as ours. Powercuts are not uncommon especially during the winter months. Furthermore, not everybody has computers or internet access. Internet access is often very patchy. Some people actually move to rural areas so that they can be off grid!
Sadly, the Church is not putting the spiritual interest of its parishioners first!
This time yesterday, the Mhinisteir called out to me informing me of the death of the famous Argentinian footballer, Diego Maradona. I wasn’t totally surprised by the news but I was greatly saddened and still am.
I do enjoy good football especially the World Cup and yes, I do know the offside rule! People are usually stunned when I tell them that I enjoy watching a good game of football. Apparently I don’t have “that face”. I didn’t know you had to belong to a certain socio economic group to enjoy football. My father who is now an old man is a big football fan and a bigger Maradona fan.
I am saddened that for someone so gifted, Maradona’s life was full of trouble till the end. As a Christian, my mind always wonders to spiritual things……I can never forget his “hand of God” goal. What made him say that?
Every Sunday, we recite the Eucharistic Acclamation which is “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. It is for this reason that we Christians celebrate Christmas for without the birth of Christ, there is no hope. Because of Christ even the worst sinner has got hope.
I was brought up a Protestant Christian so I didn’t follow the liturgical Calendar until I joined the Church of England.
Yesterday was the Feast of Christ the King, marking the end of an old year.
Next Sunday will be the start of Advent which marks the start of a new liturgical year. Just based on observations, I used to think that the start of advent was the start to the party season!!! That was when Office Christmas parties and Christmas shopping got underway.
Advent according to the liturgical calendar is similar to Lent where Christians are in a penitent mode fasting and praying. For this reason, I am not sure who came up with advent calendars filled with chocolates, gins etc!!!!!!