After a week in which frustration trumped exhaustion in the ongoing saga of life with a broken arm, rendering me pretty unpleasant both to myself and to my patient family, I'm happy to report that to-day lived up to its name & brought some much-needed refreshment.
Down at church in the valley we had a goodly collection of families, some regulars and some new faces/baptism returners.I was specially thrilled that a family for whose mum I shall take a funeral service later this week joined us. I try so hard to keep the bereaved, the disappointed, the childless at the front of my mind and to steer our reflections away from a religious version of a (rhymes with) Ballpark fiesta...Today I'd placed an icon of the Mother of God on the altar in the Lady chapel and moved our votive candle stand so that people could pause as they returned from Communion to remember, or to offer their grief to God. I hope it helped: they seemed in reasonable heart as they left.
During my talk, I borrowed from a friend the idea of inviting the congregation to come up with a job-description of a mother. I had kind of envisaged most replies coming from children and one or two did oblige - but I had some quite splendid interaction from one of our more senior ladies - whose mother was quite clearly every saint you can imagine and then some...Thankfully we all agreed that most of fall far short of such ideals, so were able to give thanks for all the other wonderful people God puts in our way to offer a little extra mothering and accept our own resposibility for caring too.
A quick burst of Teresa of Avila (no hands on earth but yours...), flowers taken to everyone by our wonderful children....just so much that was good, loving, holy..
Up the hill, things were completely different:not a hint of a child about the place but some special moments too. My colleague presided, so I had the pleasure of giving flowers to everyone as the returned from the altar. To be able to say thank you to everyone by name in that small community that loves their church so much, to acknowledge that we need one another..Holy ground once again, and some much-needed refreshment.