Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday 1: in the precinct

Startlingly good Palm Sunday, bearing in mind the truly frightening degree of churchiness that afflicted the soul this time last year! I’ve been pondering why it felt so much better, as actually we had been too chaotic (WonderfulVicar is as last minute as his curate) to actually rewrite the liturgy,- and anyway there is probably a PCC resolution somewhere that decrees that we can’t change it because Bishop Robert (God rest his soul) liked it this way….
But actually, it felt completely different, for which I'm profoundly grateful.
One improvement was beyond our control, in that Somerfield now open later on a Sunday morning, so we were not performing our antics in the precinct in front of a large audience of bemused shoppers. Those who were about seemed fairly well disposed on the whole. The policewoman who had been detailed to manage traffic for us as as we made our way along New Street held her palm with minimal embarassment and the jogger who overtook the procession waved in a cheery fashion as she passed. Some of the teenagers who more or less own the precinct outside shopping hours were playing frisbee behind the gathered congregation, but this was fine,- very much how it must have been, with the life of Jerusalem carrying on regardless as that cavalcade made its way into the city. Rather like this, I suppose...

Musée des Beaux Arts: W H Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

1 comment:

Songbird said...

What a lovely connection of your experience and Auden's poem. It sounds like a good day (but I'll read Part 2 and see!).