Sunday, July 05, 2009

A sociable day and the mystery of banns

A day of people and prayer today - ideal for a Sunday really. The meditation I came up with is this:

Meditation 165

She takes her grief
to the road,

feeling it tremble
and shift

upon her shoulders.
Perhaps the wind

will pull it away,
or the brambles

snatch it, piercing
its heavy darkness

with tiny spikes
of thorn.

We had a jolly good hymn-sing at church today - all the good old faithfuls with the good old tunes. Really there's nothing like it. However, it was something of a rocky ride through the day's bann calling - I don't know why but banns are a constant source of surprise to every church I've ever been in - we may indeed look like swans to the visiting couples and their families but there's an awful lot of frantic dabbling going on underneath to try to get them right. Most times, nobody knows the difference but today, it was so surprising to us all that the poor vicar had no option but to be honest (always a revelation in church circles, don't you know ...) - her eyes widened significantly when the couple plus parents ran in late and filled up the front pew whilst smiling and looking hopeful, so she welcomed the visitors and then asked if by chance they might be expecting banns to be called. Yes, they were rather, came the response, so poor Jenny (vicar) left us singing a hymn while she dashed out to the vestry to get the banns book. On the last verse, she dashed back, looking rather bemused and then asked the church warden to have a look while she got on with the service. Elizabeth (church warden) was out for rather a long time, then Jenny went out again while we were belting out the second hymn. At which point it transpired that the banns book had gone missing (actually they often do - they turn up every so often from whatever universe they actually dwell in and then there's an awful lot of writing up records to make sure it looks okay should the diocese come round). Not to be defeated, we simply resorted to getting the engaged couple to write down their names on a piece of paper, and Jenny then called them towards the middle of the service. To be honest, as long as you actually say the words in front of a congregation, everything else can be done on a wing and a prayer (and often is), and everyone's happy.

Mind you, I had a brief chat with the couple afterwards and reassured them that the First Rule of Church Weddings is: A rocky ride through the banns means a perfect wedding day. And I should know - my own ride through the banns was a rollercoaster of disasters, involving (a) travelling 300 miles to hear them and then the vicar decided he wasn't going to do them until the following week; and (b) the vicar almost forgetting to call them out for the second time of asking and having to be reminded by my mother getting out of her pew, striding up to the front and tapping him on the shoulder while he was deep in prayer (he was a very religious sort of a chap, for a vicar anyway) and threatening to remove the pulpit cloth (which she donated) unless he did it there and then. That worked. Ah, happy days, eh. Anyway, the couple today seemed relieved to know it isn't just them and are already looking forward to seeing how we handle it all next week ...

This afternoon, Lord H and I have been helping to celebrate Marian's husband reaching the respectable age of 70 (gosh!), which involved a lovely garden party at theirs and lots of chat and good food. Wonderful. The weather was perfect for it too, in spite of this morning's rain.

Tonight I'm continuing writing up the notes on The Gifting and wondering why the hell there isn't anything decent to watch on TV. I mean it's Sunday night -we deserve it. Where are Midsomer Murders when we need them?? Sigh.

And this week's haiku (in honour of the weather) is:

All week long, the heat
melts our skin, making us taste
time's quiet journey.

Today's nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Church
3. A 70th birthday party
4. Writing up The Gifting notes
5. Haikus.

Anne Brooke - muddling through the day

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