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October 14, 2007

Sunday ....

Just got back to the Domus from the Abbey. It has been a long and rather eventful Sunday. Our Chapter meeting this afternoon covered a lot of ground - and then we had a Civic Service. Quite an interesting event really as the current Town Mayor is, like his Borough counterpart, a committed Christian. So are some of the councillors. These occassions always make me wonder about the way people encounter God, and sometimes how they will encounter God.

Recently I have had the opportunity to watch a number of "civic" style services and the thing that soon strikes you in these is how few of the people attending are able to say the Lord's Prayer. And then you realise that many of them have no concept of what it means or says, and they cannot sing the most common and popular hymns either. One can only hope that somewhere in the service something will get through, some word from a readingt perhaps, or something in a prayer will spark thoughts on what they do believe. For they do believe - but the question is, in what?

Sorting through the prayer requests on the prayer board for visitors and pilgrims can be a challenging experience and sometimes a revealing one. Like the person who left a prayer request that "Christians could be brought to accept Wiccan beliefs as valid expressions of God." Tricky one that, since the Wiccan movement is less than a hundred years old, was invented by a "gentleman" who went in for some odd practices with young and impressionable ladies which would probably get him arrested today for underage sex and pornography, and is largely founded on some of the zanier Victorian imaginative tales of pagan and druidic practices. The terms "ancient" and "God based" are not ones most people would consider in the same breath as "Wiccan". What these requests do show clearly though, is that people desperately want something they can believe in, something greater than their own intellect or ability, something bigger and more eternal than humanity and the mess it manages to create everywhere.

Civic Services tend to bring all of that into focus I'm afraid, since the bulk of the congregation on these occassions are there because they have to be and not because they necessarily want to be.

One can only hope that God can find a way to speak to them through it, and do one's best to make it meaningful and God centred for those who are there to worship and give God the glory. After that, it is in the hands of God.

Posted by The Gray Monk at October 14, 2007 10:16 PM

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