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Beyond the Lone Islands

Sunday, 21 March 2010

At Least And At Last

At Least today did not just feel like a repetition of yesterday.

And At Last there are patches of bare ground large enough to make it possible to actually stretch one's legs a bit when going for a walk. (And oh, do mine need stretching...!)

Can't say that the day seemed to start out very well, at first. I woke up too early, still tired but unable to go back to sleep. I got up reluctantly, took my medicines and had a bit of breakfast (but did not get dressed); then turned on the computer to check if there were any emails  - and there were, so that was nice - but then tiredness hit me again... So I went back to bed, intending to read, but fell asleep, and next time I woke up it was 10 o'clock.

Then I surprised myself, because within half an hour I had a shower, got dressed and set off to go to church - which I had not planned! I had not even checked the ads in the paper the day before; only did now just before I left. I haven't been to any church for months.

I ended up today in the oldest one in town, from the 17th century. It is beautifully decorated inside*, but with terribly uncomfortable benches (not agreeing well with my neck). However, they follow a 'high church' liturgy which means you get to stand up every five minutes or so. A bit confusing when you're out of practice (what? again? but we just sat down!); but with difficulties sitting too long in the same position, I have come to regard it as a good thing. The 'high church' profile also means that the service almost always includes the holy communion. Which I also regard as a good thing.

Water colour by Lars Lerin

Another good thing about this church is that I don't know a whole lot of people there. I do have a friend who sings in the choir (classical music kind of choir, and they were singing today), and occasionally I might run into one or two other aquaintances. But I don't get attacked by people jumping to conclusions like a/ I'm a lost sheep come back and intending to come every Sunday hereafter, or b/ asking me if I'm in town for a visit and what do I work with these days (I never moved away, and I've been in early retirement for six years). Sorry, getting a bit ironic there... But sometimes I actually prefer the more anonymous atmosphere.

In the liturgical year, it's Lady Day or the Feast of Annunciation. I'm learning the English terms for it as I write... Well, that's 25 March really, i.e. 9 months before the date we celebrate the Birth of Christ. But that's what the sermon was about. Otherwise usually not a whole lot of fuss made about Mary (mother of Jesus) in the Protestant churches.

I'm not going to try to recapitulate the whole of the sermon here (don't think I could, anyway), but the text was about how Mary, after she finds herself pregnant, goes to see Elizabeth, mother-to-be of John the Baptist, who is a bit further along in her pregnancy. And Elizabeth says to Mary: "As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy." (Luke 1:44) Now, the clergyman (male) who was preaching took a somewhat unusual angle on this, focusing on the  sensation of a kick in the stomach for other reasons - which even a man can feel. The image has its limitations, I suppose, but somehow it still lingers with me:
The ability of a Word to give you a Kick...

* Some day in the summer season, I will go back as blogging tourist and take pictures. Not the right occasion to do that today.


GB said...

I can't recall my last church service (apart from a funeral!). I must try it again sometime.

Sandra said...

I am glad you went and i am waiting for the tourist type photos on a day when church is not in progress. i love the tower on the church and i know it must be beautiful inside and out. in the South of USA we don't have old churches like this, there are a few in the north. Here our churches are more like boxes, some prettier than others. maybe I will do a trip around town and grab a few photos of churches and the different styles. thanks for sharing, glad you could get out. enjoy what is left of your day. i have no idea what time it is where you are, maybe i will google it. it is late afternoon here, 3:15 PM

Sandra said...

I just checked the time difference and you are 5 hours later than i am, so in the evening for you. see you tomorrow

Ginny said...

Well, first I love your picture of the wet street, because of the lovely reflection in the puddle. The light is is unusual. The church is beautiful, I am looking forward to your pictures when they are not having a high type service. I know what you mean about the pews! The ones that really get me are the straight wooden ones with no padding on the back or seat. Ouch! If I am going to a strange church, I sometimes take a cushion with me. It can be kind of embarrasing, but I'm old now, so what can they say?

DawnTreader said...

@Sandra, it would be interesting to see some of your churches. I've seen a lot of different examples from different parts of US (and other parts of the world) since I started blogging. But not from Florida.

That time-around-the-world thing is still hard to keep straight in my head. Different dates for daylight saving time also comes into it now and makes it even more complicated! You're already on that, aren't you? We'll be putting our clocks forward 1 hr next Sunday.

@Ginny, you're very observant. The reflection was my main reason for stopping to take that first photo, then also trying to enhance that in the editing.

And yes that's the type of pew in that church. They do have a flat (loose) chushion on the seat but the seat is very narrow and the back straight. Yesterday I had brought an inflatable cushion to rest my arm on + I had my coat on (also cold in that church in winter).

DawnTreader said...

@GB - Even funerals can be a bit different from each other, depending on circumstances and type of church. But what they have in common is that there is always sadness involved, and also you don't "choose" them. So yes, I would say: Try some time when you do not feel that you "have" to.

rae said...

What a nice post!


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