After a week of negative postings, time for a cheerier word. Two really good moments in church this morning:
First, there was a moment or two of perfect silence - apart from the quiet organ music which seemed, miraculously, to have hushed even the most insistent noise-makers - before the service began, as if all there were holding their breath in anticipation. (Actually, there were two further minutes of silent prayer in mid-sermon, but this was somehow less miraculous)
And secondly, the first hymn. We sang Wesley's O for a thousand tongues to sing.... to the tune Lyngham - a tune I first sang 45 years ago at choral camp to these words:
There was an auld Seceder Cat,
And it was unco gray;
It brocht a moose into the hoose
Upon the Sabbath day:
They took it to the Sess-i-on,
Wha it rebukit sore,
And made it promise faithfully
To do the same no more.
We were told at the time that these words were used so that choirs practising on weekdays could learn their parts without singing holy words, and we bellowed them with glee. Thing about this tune is the absolute need for the men to com in strongly without the upper parts at the last line, which is repeated several times in imitation till it all comes triumphantly together at the end.
Now, in our wee church we are somewhat short of men, especially since the eighty-something tenor decided we didn't give him enough to do and took himself off to the kirk, so this hymn could have been a sad failure. But what was joyous was the way that having faltered somewhat in the first verse the men there got steam up by the second verse and by the end of the hymn were giving it laldy. And it was all the more joyous because it was so unexpected.
So there you are. A great tune, seriously old-fashioned, and words full of poetic diction and curtailed syllables (to fit the scansion) - but a great result. And suddenly I felt at one with the world and in complete accord with my fellow-worshippers. Guess I'm in the right church, huh?