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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 3

  • A Month of Sundays...

    This post is/was inspired by a visit to the Pantheon in Rome last Sunday, and the feelings that arose from observing the behaviour of people for whom this was merely a curiosity, a place to pose their small children for photos, an item checked off on a tourist itinerary.

    Sunday 20th May - Pentecost Sunday - an ecumenical celebration that saw two congregations come together to delight in the diversity of languages and cultures gathered together to worship God.  Our 'babble' of around fifteen languages being spoken simultaneously was, in fact, very beautiful rhythmic, and yes, worshipful.

    Sunday 27th May - Trinity Sunday - the long awaited baptism of five friends, again multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and again happy, celebratory and worshipful.

    Sunday 3rd June - Ordinary Time - and a visit to the Pantheon, a spectacular basillica in Rome, originally a temple to 'all the gods' and for centuries a Christian church.  And here, on a Sunday afternoon, people queued to go in, passing signs that asked them to cover up bare flesh, to switch off phones, not to use camera flash and to be silent... Precisely none of which were observed.  After about five minutes, the general hubub was interrupted by a very loud, recorded 'SHHHHHH.... SILENCE'. And, indeed there was silence, for about ten seconds, before tour guides resumed their explanations, tourists exclaimed delight at the design or the art, and many posed for selfies pointing to the occulus (huge circular hole in the dome, and only source of natural light) or arranged their small children artistically on the marble floor.  Another five minutes, and another recording, quieter, sequentially in many languages politely requested silence... and, it seemed, no one took any notice.

    Two distinct feelings arose within me.  One of annoyance, that people defied, or at least ignored, the expectations of attire, photography and quiet.  The other of realisation that most people there had no idea what this place was or how to read it.  When I joined others to sit on the wooden benches to reflect and to pray, we were a definite minority... Those who wished to be still, to admire the architecture or the art, to absorb the history, to pray to God or gods, to reflect, did so very deliberately amidst the babble.  All of which gave me much ongoing pause for thought.

    Sunday 10th June - tomorrow.  Back to the hotel room.  Back to preaching in an ordinary service. Happy for the return to what is familiar, looking forward to seeing people and worshiping alongside them. And changed, if ever so slightly, by the experiences of this month of Sundays.

    (Picture: Pantheon occulus; no flash (of course, I'm obedient!))

  • A Full Stop, a Leaf, a Dead End...

    Ahead of Sunday's service, I've been reminding myself of my family tree, tracing back only 3 or 4 generations, across the UK and into northern Europe.  Various cousins have done some serious digging and have promised to send me trees many times, I've never chased them up.

    I've done this before,many times, knowing fine well that the branch that leads to me stops with me... I am a 'leaf' or a 'full stop' or, even a 'dead end'. 

    From the first family tree drawn up at school when I was right at the bottom, nothing has changed for me.  And I'd never really thought about that until now, when, on my tiny branch I am simultaneously the oldest and youngest still alive (on the basis that my siblings have their own branches already extending one or two generations forward).

    There came a deep realisation that no-one will ever track backwards via me, it will be via my siblings.  Again, I already knew this, it just hadn't really registered.

    Slightly odd feelings... but useful in thinking about where our 'ultimate' identity lies which is as children (adopted or otherwise) of the living God, with siblings connected not by blood but by grace... which is roughly Sunday's starting point, so if you've read this you can snooze through the first bit!!

  • Back to Work!

    I had a lovely holiday, albeit involving some "interesting" travel changes and a fair bit of running through airports as fast as my little legs would carry me whilst dragging a case!

    Lots of things to reflect on, indeed, many things I've already written about in a note-book, and lots of time to relax.

    Today it's back to work with a bump - a mere 13 hours day to start of with, oops! June is going to be a funny month with lots of travel and juggling of stuff, but I am looking forward to it.

    More to follow when I've caught up the work stuff.