Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Midweek Masses

On my way into school to take an assembly this morning, taking my usual route to avoid queues at traffic lights, I noticed, parked outside City Hall, an articulated lorry stacked with rolls of fresh turf, for re-laying the lawn where the Winter Wonderland extravaganza was sited from November until after Twelfth Night. It's really the first day it's been possible to start re-surfacing work, because of the poor weather - that's three weeks of it. But today, the sun shone. At first sight the rolls of turn neatly arranged, reminded me of the steel coils from rolling mills that get shipped around the country on the same kind of lorries.

I told the children the story about Christ's presentation in the Temple. They were all so quiet and attentive, such a credit to their teachers. Chris, my student on Parish placement was with me again following the break in his study programme. He served and read at the 'class Mass' at St Germans straight after the assembly, for which I was grateful, as I'd forgotten my reading glasses. The sun streamed into the church, and once more the eighteen children and three staff present were relaxed and quiet, hopefully savouring the moment, in a day of busy activity.

Chris and I then went home for a quick cuppa before walking in to St John's for the noon Eucharist. There were eight of us, including a man who took me aside afterwards and unburdened himself to me for half an hour. He was troubled by a encounter with a church based counsellor in Newport, who seemed unable to affirm the strong real faith he had, but insisted he wasn't a 'real' Christian unless he was, well - I'd say, able to utter whatever magical formula it is that convinces those inspecting you that you're saved. He'd gone seeking help and advice, and come away in distress. I did my best to reassure him by reminding him that we all have experience of taking our car in for repair to a mechanic who creates more problems than he solves. Religion's not much different, sorry to say.

Afterwards, there was just enough time to drop off a CBS file at Southgate House, and then head to City URC for David Lee's second lecture, all about images of God in the Old Testament. I had to skip lunch to get there on time, and only just made the beginning. It was a refreshing and enjoyable couple of hours listening and discussion. After a couple of unsettled days, I was glad to get home and relax, by cooking myself a venison dish, with a small steak Clare obtained for me at the Sunday market. I stewed it in fruit juice with onions, carrots and a parsnip, making the whole disk both sweet and spicy by the time I'd added all the condiments, experimentally, as I usually do.

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