Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A Time Less Ordinary.

The dappled afternoon light in the Sacristy, a place of calm and reflection again, after the (very welcome) hordes on Sunday Evening.

Minor reliquaries transferred to the Holy Souls altar for the week as they cannot be on the Altar, by law, for Corpus Christi unless they are covered which looks frankly bonkers.

Our Lady in her May arrangement. It will all look very stark from Sunday June 1st. But then we are all off to Laydewell on the day pilgrimage the week after!

The Sunday School board has changed regularly this Easter Season with all sorts of interesting and very well produced work.

The Paschal Candle and black lectern fall show the funeral we have this afternoon.

We are now firmly into 'Ordinary Time', even though you would not know through attendance at Sunday Mass alone, as last Sunday saw our white vestments out for Trinity and the May Devotions and this Sunday will see our gold set out for Corpus Christi, as there is now the option of keeping it on Sunday. The week after will be the first 'green' Sunday since before Lent and then that season carries on, with only one or two interruptions, until the feast of Christ the King the week before Advent starts. A long, pastoral season stretching to the Autumn, from the fall of the last of the blossom to the fall of the fruit into our baskets, at which the days begin to shorten again and we enter our watch for the birth of the Christ Child. The altar reverts back to having six tall candles for the season and the great reliquaries are put away, the books are covered in green fabric and the lectern falls stay the same for months on end as the world goes on Her boundless ellipse, to God and around God and with God, to the ages of ages. This Sunday there will be one last burst of light as the altar becomes aflame with the light of a hundred candles for Benediction after the Corpus Christi Mass, caught in the weave of the gold silk High Mass set and reflected, as the glory of God which it all represents, into our hearts and our minds for it is we who must blaze through Summer and into the short days again of Advent, aflame with the light of Christ.
An ordinary time, maybe, but not a time of ordinary things for out of and within the loop of worship still move the people of God, both known to us and unknown, both knowing God and unknowing Him. We pilgrim nation, on our Island touched by God since it's creation, one time home of the Orthodox faith until Hilda Romanised us, once blessed by the feet of Christ if the monks at Glastonbury are to be believed as the Holy Thorn blossoms each year, for we still live and move and have our being in God. However we see ourselves now, the Church reflects all our times for all times belong to God and all the ages. This morning as I laid out a green low Mass set, I also laid out a black stole for this afternoons funeral and put the black lectern fall out, but also put the gold fall out to change the lectern into after the funeral ready for Corpus on Sunday. The Paschal Candle which was carried in procession from the sanctuary to the font on Pentecost was carried to the dais, to stand next to the coffin of someones child and someones Father later on today. Their family will come to mourn and to remember and pray and then the flowers will be prepared for this Saturday's wedding and baptism. We are bound on a wheel, not of fire, but of damask, in a hundred shades of love and praise.
This less ordinary time also saw the Diocesan Deliverance Minister calling at my house yesterday for a de-briefing session before we went to visit a house in the parish wherein strange activities have been reported. Convinced as we became after a couple of hours looking and questioning, that this was indeed in our line of work rather than a plumbers or electricians, prayers for the peace of the house and the spirit which is trapped within it were said. If the activities continue then a requiem Mass will be said in the cellar next week, by the site of the disturbances, for the poor soul. In the meantime, can I enjoin you to pray for the eternal rest of a troubled soul. If the Mass fails to liberate the soul, which is unlikely, then there has to be something else. I am sure that our prayers, your prayers and the Holy Mass will suffice, however. It seems that we come into this after a long time and many tangled strands going back a few tenants need to be unravelled fully as well, for everything is worth doing properly, especially the liberation of a soul from behaviour drawing attention to the horrific hour before it's death. Pray, as I have said, for this soul and for the peace of the Kingdom.
That long day finished as I sat by the fountain in the courtyard of my Theological College reading my end of years report and musing on how I was, generally, pleased with what has been said, particularly as I have neither seen nor spoken to the man who wrote it since November! Seriously though, he is very ill and I urge your prayers for him, Fr Ian Wallis, Principal of the Yorkshire Ordination Courses, who retires this Summer through the aforementioned ill health after only a year in post. I pray, also, that a successor may be found.