Thursday 31 December
I have two different ways of preparing for celebrating a Eucharist.
During the week and at the early Sunday service at St. Peter’s, I robe early and go and sit and wait as worshippers arrive. At the main service on a Sunday I wait at the back and greet people as they come into church.
Both forms of preparation are significant. The first is ‘my’ time and spreads to those who gather. Catching up is done at the end. However the at the back welcome is equally important and has something to do with linking together of the much larger gathering; I have spoken to nearly everyone beforehand and there is an integration achieved through this contact. Late or on the cusp arrival don’t glean this connection to the celebrant, but ho hum you can’t win them all.
Morning Prayers completed and I wait for the turning of the hour. Apprehensive, arrow prayers shoot up through the ceiling.
A date and time arranged late yesterday. A man barely forty – yet looking sixty. Full of the wine the newest bottle he waves about. He cries for his innocence, bewailing the abuse he is given in the town and wearing the badge of a black eye where he has responded to taunts.
Will he return, sober and yet without the passion of feeling for his state and reaction? Does his wine dull or enflame?
Way past 9.15am and arrow prayers shoot up through the ceiling. Relief or regret?
Watch the changes….
To see people mix – paricularly when shy. Breaking the bonds of individuality and self imposed lonliness.
Simple contact, sows seeds of future support.
Loitering is a calling.
Policeman would move you on for loitering, but I believe I am called to loiter.
I have always felt that ministering is about meeting people where they are and not necessarily where I want them to be. Doesn’t God dwell where we are and draw us to recognise the fact? Looking for Him hither and thither, being disappointed with the result and then find He was present already and at all times. Suddenly I can see the ‘Footprints Poem’ coming into my mind’s eye. Perhaps holiness is just recognising that presence and responding in our actions.
Loitering – waiting in preparation for…? –As Forest Gump would say – ‘A box of Chocolates’.
In a matter of an hour – the intension was to loiter and spend the ’waiting time’ researching next Sunday’s readings in sermon preparation, the time ended being used up in gentle conversations.
A worried young man wanting to be helped to train as a mechanic, another, a searching individual at the start of a longer dialogue; and a asylum seeker, no home or roots or advocate other than his faith – both the cause of him fleeing all he knows and the strength of his search in Britain.
Each exchange marked out by loitering and simple hospitality. An ear, some discernment and directional questions and a lunch shared.