Sunday, 12 October 2008

Harvest Sunday.

The Area Dean.

We approach the altar.


Flower display.

This Sunday saw a bright morning as I swept the leaves from the path and looked at the grounds, covered with their fall of leaves, cones and discarded takeaway boxes. The good weather and possibly bad tummies from the takeaways kept a few away, as is the way of these things, but those of us who came celebrated the harvest alongside Revd. Chich Hewitt, our Area Dean and the countless cloud of witnessed thronging the air who are now, rather surrealy, being celebrated on Radio Three as I scribe in a service of Evensong from Ripon Cathedral for All Saints. The Church was warm, which is in itself a novelty, as our heating now seems to be fixed, indeed was fixed at the eleventh hour in time for the school harvest play and also the Church was suffused with the smell of flowers, most skilfully arranged by Sheila and Josie.

Next week will be a busy one as usual and next Sunday is our Dedication Festival, not the Patronal Festival, which is kept with far greater splendour, but the feast of the dedication of the building, a hundred and three years ago. I turned the page of the book of remembrance this morning and wondered if we will still be here in another hundred and three years and felt the resolve tighten in my stomach (which has ample space for two supplies of resolve, so take heart if you feel a little dithery) that we , in the broader sense of the term, must be. The names of those who died fortified by the rites of the Church and commemorated in this building in a way which they would recognise, with a Gospel preached which they also would recognise, being now in the presence of the author of scripture and the author of life, demand our witness to be as courageous as theirs, who fought for the aumbry and the thurible, who fought more importantly for the faith of the Church. These people, our contemporaries and those yet to come will, in my opinion, be let down by our inability to help a wavering Church come up with a faithful, scriptural narrative for our time, no matter how difficult it may seem.