I can’t explain what happened last Sunday. I really can’t.
Yes it was Pentecost, but the whole thing was so low key, there were no real belt-’em-out hymns chosen, it was like a 1970s or ’80s retro worship service. The service introduction did not help. Were we invited to worship God or something we got a reading of what the Anglican Church says Pentecost is, and being told that this is not how to communicate. The ironic tone slipped into sarcasm in places.
The congregation, however, seemed to have other ideas. From the very first ong things were well sung. There was a feeling that we were there to worship God, and we did, despite the song choice and despite the mildly sarcastic opening tone.
It was one of those Vicar is away weeks. Pentecost and Spring Bank Holiday were the same day this year. Mike and his family were having a break, the service was led by a retired priest (as if a priest could retire, another of the mild toned rants from the service start) and the sermon by a member of the congregation.
Then the sermon …
It was longer than we are used to, and we are used to sermons breaking 20 minutes since Mike has been Vicar. It started off as the preacher told of what Whitsuntide used to be like; new sets of clothes and the Whit walk in the area with a brass band leading. A nostalgic tale of a time long ago for which the preacher’s memories are more fond than mine. Being made to parade before people in new clothes at that age would have horrified me. He got a few coins for doing it; if it had happened to me I would probably come out mentally scarred.
The sermon then went on to a holiday on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, complete with a mention of the geography of the area, and a mention that he island closed down on Sundays.
At this stage my eyes should have been glazing over: a sermon which is someone’s rose tinted reminiscing over a period I don’t remember very fondly, and tales of holidays have a negative affect on me. For a sermon which talked about church but not about God, doubly so. Nothing for me here.
Then it changed.
The reason that Lewis was closed on Sundays was because of a revival led by evangelist Duncan Campbell when he had been invited by a local minister and two ladies in their 80s who had been praying for revival. Hearing od this our church was moved.
It is now the early hours of the following Sunday. Tome for me to sleep before going back to see how this has affected the church at all.