after a lovely escape to London, which I'll blog later, we returned home last night to the alien sight of small groups of people gathered in the street as dusk fell - collected together around the water bowsers, the new parish pumps. Suddenly, Charlton Kings had one small thing in common with the communities I visited in India where the trips to the local standpipe are an essential prelude to any domestic activity, morning and evening. Even in the cities where there is notional mains water for each home, it is not actually available at all hours - so this routine of filling vessels to use later which we are adopting with bad grace is very much part of life.
Generally, it seems that people are being rather wonderful. When I phoned round some of the congregation whom I thought might be struggling, they all had reports of kind neighbours and helpful policemen. Elsewhere, things have been less happy, with looting of flooded properties in Tewkesbury and Gloucester (apparently within 12 hours of the floods, homes were being burgled to enable the 21st century crime of identity theft) and bored youths leaving bowsers with their taps turned on, while precious water drains away.
It seems, depressingly, that there are some who have no concept of the needs of others, even when they are clear and obvious.
I was also struck , when preparing intercessions for the Eucharist, by the fact that the modern collections of liturgy - New Patterns of Worship, Common Worship Times and Seasons et al - make little provision for a community disaster. While the Book of Common Prayer offered resources for times of war, flood and pestilence, there seems to be no contemporary equivalent. Is this a sign that we're so sure of ourselves and our security that it doesn't even occurr to liturgists that we might sometimes need resources for darker days?On Monday evening we used the Litany. I think I'll do some trawling before tomorrow morning's service, as I'm sure the resources exist,- they just aren't part of the "bread and butter" books of today. I know this is an exceptional circumstance (I certainly hope it is, anyway) but even so. We're so well cushioned by material wealth and comfort that no-one expects to be confronted with nature out of control. I suspect this is in the throes of changing. Who knows, we might even recover some sense of our need of God as we recognise our essential vulnerability.