Thursday, April 01, 2010

Maundy Thursday

On my way in to celebrate the midday Eucharist, I stopped to chat with the churchyard path laying contractors, about to knock off their their Easter break. All the renewed kerbstones are now in place, and there's a layer of six inches of concrete laced aggregate rolled into place, leaving room for the pennant flagstones to be laid when they arrive after the holiday. "Derr, that's a bit overkill for a path innit?" said the charge hand, "You could drive a tank over it when it's finished." "That's the idea, we're sick of tripping over loose flagstones." I riposted. "Yeah, but it'll outlast the church at this rate." he said. "No harm in that." I replied, trying to imagine the path bearing visitors or pilgrims in 200 years time, hopefully, not paying homage to an urban ruin. So, with a bit of luck and decent weather, the job should be done before I retire. Meanwhile, the guys have kindly used some spare aggregate to fashion ramps at each end, to facilitate wheeled access for the time being.

We were a dozen at the noon Eucharist, half seemed to be passing foreign visitors. After the service I went over to the Catholic Truth Society shop to buy a paschal candle sticker and a stock of communion wafers. The congregation at the Metropolian Cathedral Chrism Mass next door was just coming out, and Archbishop Peter was in the door way greeting the faithful. A very joyous and happy atmosphere was generated by chatting groups along the pavement. The forecourt of the shop became briefly a refuge for several clergy uninhibitedly puffing away at their first post liturgical ciggies. There was a party atmosphere in the shop too, for them one of the busiest days of the year after the visit of the relics of St Therèse. "You wouldn't believe it Father - non stop twelve hours opening. We had to throw them out in the end."

Then I went over the Southgate House, to complete my little effort in CBS subscriber data input. My arrival coincided with a visit from our technical supplies man. We had an interesting conversation about the the problems of 'reception' - not transmission quality, but reception of new ideas in certain areas of local government where 'Not invented here' is inscribed religiously on the door lintels. We have a little way to go yet, to ensure that the city is as well served as it deserves to be. He's an interesting guy, who left a certain local church school with one 'O' level, and was 'blessed' with this valedictory sentence from a teacher: "I can't ever see you holding down a steady job." Undeterred, he said that he'd never been out of work since then, twenty eight years ago. Some people can only learn to succeed from life itself, and not by jumping through hoops laid by academics. Failure to recognise this is perhaps at the heart of modern educational problems.

There were fourteen of us for the Evening Eucharist of the Lord's Supper. I preached, for the second time today, having just enough voice to be ready to have a go, but I did begin to splutter towards the end. I wasn't the only one barking, snuffling and coping with catarrhal deafness. Evan was right on the mark after the withdrawal of the reserved sacrament, and the sanctuary was stripped, bleak and bare by the time we came to the end of Psalm 88, with the last light of day fading rapidly. "It was night", as scripture says, abrupt and powerful.

Time then, to draw breath go home and eat, and hunt nervously for tomorrow's Vigil at the Cross addresses, completed before Lent began, and just a bit elusive earlier on in a file system, reproduced over two machines each with Linux and Windows partitions. After a minor panic, they turned up 'in the cloud' as the latest trendy tech jargon has it. I took a free subscription to an Ubuntu Linux internet file storage service you can access from anywhere, just in case you forget your memory stick or floppy disk. I parked the sermons there, meaning to transfer them to earthly property owned by me, in another room, or the church office, and then forgot what I'd done. If you don't make it to hear them live, you can read them here.

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