Sunday, January 09, 2011

On lecterns, and cold hands

Eagle lectern
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Brass eagles don't usually leap into the mind when the weather is cold - monkeys are much more likely. However, today I want to consider a brass eagle like this one, a lectern in a chilly church on an icy Sunday. Specifically, and not to detract from this magnificent specimen in the Cathedral of The Isles, I want to consider the lectern in Holy Trinity, Dunoon, and its effect on me this icy morning.

Today was my turn to preach. Having read the gospel (it was a lay-led service), I propped my notes on the lectionary as usual - and found that they wouldn't stay put unless I held on a bit. (The lectionary at this early point in the year lies a bit lop-sided when open at the right page). I tend to hang on to the wing-tips anyway, as it anchors the hands in a decorous sort of fashion.

Halfway through I had a vision. It was not an angelic vision, nor was it helpful. I pictured myself as in a heat-imager: starting off quite red and glowing, in my good wool coat to the ankles and the fur-lined boots. Within moments, my hands are blue, then black. The glowing red is drained out of my shape, passing instead to the eagle. By the end of the sermon, my frozen body retreats and the eagle, glowing like the Phoenix, takes off and soars down the church.

There you are. I told you it wasn't helpful. But I must try to do something different with my hands next time.

Or wear gloves ...


  1. I wonder if I can comment here? Lovely image, though I can quite see that it wouldn't help your sermon!
    Might encourage speedy delivery, though!

  2. There you are - it worked!

  3. the only problem is that that was with firefox...Ummmmm....Chrome just made the whole computer freeze while I was using it to try & comment elsewhere, so the jury is out!

  4. The stuff from which scary late night horror movies are made.

  5. I have a lectern clutching habit, which I think comes from my more usual forum of court advocacy. Thankfully mine is mostly wood, so less cold, but not sure it's the ideal look! At least yours was only the child of necessity!

  6. FrpaulB1:01 PM

    A friend used to preach from a similar eagle lectern to the one pictured. He would hold onto the brass knobs which held the desk part on. He was concerned he might one day hear himself say "I'm going to screw the balls of this eagle one day" !