After the struggles of the morning, it was with even less confidence than usual that I climbed the pulpit steps at Evensong.
I knew that the sermon I'd prepared was something I could preach with intergrity but I've seldom felt as vulnerable as when I began the process of actually preaching it.
Though I don't think my struggles with Remembrance Sunday are actually a result of being too young to have direct experience of life in war-time (after all, my feelings are hugely shaped by my father's feelings and opinions, as I understood them) I was fearful that some people would simply hear my words as a careless response from a younger generation who benefitted from the peace that was won, but had no sense of the cost...
It felt very lonely in that pulpit...and when I came down, shaking rather, I had no idea how my words might be received.
Hallelujah! Though I had 2 negative "I think you've got that wrong" comments, I also had some very encouraging "Thank you....I needed someone to say that" reactions...It would have been simply stunning, given the popularity of this morning's service, if I hadn't at least irritated someone....but the support, unexpected and unlooked for, was just what I needed.
Once Evensong was over, Hugger Steward and I led an alt Eucharist for Koinonia...
We'd opted to use the chapel, which lends itself to sprawling comfortably on the carpet, and covered the altar with a sheet onto which we projected videos and power point.
There was some wonderful video footage from Blessed, a rite of confession using Coldplay's Fix You, with white poppies as a sign of forgiveness and committment to peace, and then, as we looked at this image of swords turned into ploughshares, we read this wonderful affirmation from South Africa. I read the untruths, and different voices from around the circle responded with the opposing messages of hope.
It is not true that this world and its inhabitants are doomed to die and be lost
THIS IS TRUE – FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT DIE BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction
THIS IS TRUE; I AM COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY
It is not true that violence and hatred shall have the last word, and that war and destruction have come to stay for ever
THIS IS TRUE; FOR TO US A CHILD IS BORN, TO US A SON IS GIVEN, IN WHOM AUTHORITY WILL REST, AND WHOSE NAME WILL BE PRINCE OF PEACE
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil that seek to rule the world
THIS IS TRUE; TO ME IS GIVEN AUTHORITY IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH, AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE END OF THE WORLD
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted who are the prophets of the church, before we can do anything
THIS IS TRUE; I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL PEOPLE, AND YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG PEOPLE SHALL SEE VISIONS AND YOUR OLD FOLK SHALL DREAM DREAMS
It is not true that our dreams of liberation of humankind, our dreams of justice, of human dignity, of peace, are not meant for this earth and its history
THIS IS TRUE: THE HOUR COMES AND IT IS NOW THAT THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS SHALL WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH
Later we shared naan bread that we'd made together a few minutes before, and listened to Pierce Pettis assure us
God believes in you
To my delight, when I'd given the blessing (more thanks to Fr Simon and Blessed) there was no immediate rush for the door, even from the dedicated footballers who had come away from their game only on sufferance. Instead, we all sat on in the candlelight, dealing with all the different thoughts and feelings God had put into our heads and hearts...Holy ground.