Sunday, January 04, 2009

Moving the furniture

Being in church can do things to people. I used to think that the very need to sit still and silent in a loo-less building was guaranteed to bring on an attack of cramp, a coughing fit or a bout of incontinence. It was almost an excuse not to go. All this was a long time ago, I remember - except that today I had the tickly cough. It began towards the end of the Gospel and by the sermon was threatening the full, eye-ball-popping, knicker-wetting Monty. I extricated myself from my customary front pew and left to cough - apparently still audibly - in the porch.

When it was over, I crept back in and sat in the pew immediately opposite the door. No-one in the know ever sits as far back as this - the draught is appalling, you're well behind the infra-red overhead heaters and the temperature is about ten degrees lower than at the front. But it was fascinating. I was struck by how beautiful the church looked, how tall, how simple. I was moved by the sight of the congregation - twenty today - gathered together, all intently listening. I felt at once an outsider and a matriarch, somehow responsible for this little group. And I too listened - to a sermon about rearranging the metaphorical furniture of our lives to make space for prayer and noticing. And before I crept back into the relative warmth for the Creed, I thought about changing viewpoints and the insights given by a new look at life.

Jolly chilly, though.

NB - there's a wee literary reference in there. Usual virtual reward.


  1. Ah, your church would be trouble with our little town! Building codes inspector would raise his eyebrows, frown, and close the building down. No services! That simple!!! The joke of my neighbor next door is that if one desires to nail two boards together, he or she must first get a building permit! Argh. Sad, but (almost) true!

    I love your telling of this account. WHY do we *only* cough or have coughing FITS in church?

    Your church is very lovely from the photos I have seen. I would so love to see it in person...Perhaps one day!

    We do indeed need to move our spiritual furniture about. And dust! My goodness how the dust builds up! strange....
    As I was about to post this, I looked at my verification word and smiled....."undid"!

  2. Katya, we would love to see you. You can bring your building inspector too.

  3. I found the wee reference but not the literary reference. Any clues?

  4. A very seasonal poem from the 20th century?

  5. Thank you. I'll go for "All this was a long time ago" from "Journey of the Magi" by Elliot.

    I should have got it straight away but I was fixated at making school boy jokes at your expense. Sorry.

  6. Ego te absolvo, mi fili - but I dunno about the virtual Mars bar for bad boys...