Sunday, 16 October 2011


Being a priest is all about connections. I get depressed about the loss of connection between God and the rest of life that is perceived by society and underlined in the media. And the church can collude - we act like a private club where people who 'are into that sort of thing' can sing hymns, pray, etc., while 'normal' life continues for everyone else.
But some glimmers of light this week - Frank Skinner's 'I don't worship the great God normal' lifted me - and the Radio 2 broadcaster, Janey Lee Grace, a bold positive advert for women, said 'I pray all the time, for everything, big and small. It's a conversation with God - and apparently he listens' (Church Times). Also Jeanette Winterson (she who wrote so scathingly of oppression in Christianity, in Oranges are not the only fruit) celebrated the Sixty-six Books bible- as- theatre project at the Bush Theatre - writing that it was 'an intellectually alive, socially aware challenge, not afraid to explore spirituality in a secular society'.
It is a constant priestly challenge to connect people and God in a two-way conversation about life, hope, fear, sadness, loss, joy. Good liturgy is able to touch someone in that moment, in that experience. Connection is a particular challenge at funerals; this week some more light broke through - literally: I took an ashes interment of a gentleman who was fond of quoting St Matthew: 'The sun shines on the righteous and the unrighteous alike'. At the moment of interment the sun beamed down through a gap in the autumn branches, directly onto the grave - nowhere else - to the comfort and delight of all. It was quite a moment of connection.

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