When I lived in London I helped to run the music at St Luke’s church in West Holloway. That church was also home to the year round offices and operations of the Greenbelt festival. St Luke is the patron saint of artists, and the arts were important in that church’s sense of identity through that connection with Greenbelt. It was a good combination, although St Luke is also the patron saint of doctors, students and butchers and not the patron saint of musicians. (St Cecilia is.)
I was never a boy scout, and a bit of a disaster as a cub if I’m honest, but I do remember the famous motto of the scouting movement, ‘Be Prepared’. I will doubtless get into trouble for saying so, but the wisdom of this motto has some very definite limitations. Of course it’s good to be prepared, but it is also possible to be over-prepared.
This week, I am reproducing words from the service booklet that has been prepared for this afternoon’s service, Alice’s First Eucharist as Priest and President.
Last week, if you choose to look at it this way, Boris Johnson became the first political leader since Oliver Cromwell to impose significant legal restrictions on the celebration of Christmas.
It has been a worrying week! At one point, we were concerned that we might be required to close the church doors once again to comply with tightening restrictions. We give thanks that this has not turned out to be the case. We are able, in fact, to continue as we are. Our building and our practices are compliant with current Government rules and national church guidelines.
The discovery that it is September again has challenged my sense of time. The year to date has been so odd that the rhythm of the weeks and months, the passing of the seasons, doesn’t seem to have worked in quite the same way as I generally experience. The pandemic crisis began as winter was giving way to spring. Now, the crisis is far from over and we are already at the threshold of autumn. Throughout this period, many of the normal markers that divide up the time of our lives have been absent. Each day has been very similar to the last and to the next.
There are different kinds of tiredness. Being away on holiday I was able to rediscover the wonderful kind of tiredness that one experiences after a day of walking in the countryside with no responsibilities and few decisions other than which ale to choose to accompany one’s lunch. This is a very different sort of thing from the emotional weariness of long periods under stress, when heavy responsibilities and impossible decisions weigh on the mind even at rest.