Monday, February 01, 2010
The parable of the covered font
Yesterday we celebrated Candlemas (the feast of the Presentation of Christ) with a united service for both parishes up at church on the hill. Everything went smoothly, and while the congregation at a united service is rarely the same as the combined total from each church on a normal Sunday, enough people made it up from the valley to double the usual Sunday attendance. People seemed to enjoy the liturgical variety, which is still a novelty for these parishes, and were surprisingly co-operative about being asked to move during the Nunc Dimmittis so that we ended the service clumped around the font.
That, however, was the rub.
When we reached the font the lid was firmly in place.
Instead of a reminder of the life-giving waters of Baptism, or the daily miracle of forgiveness and grace we were presented with a piece of church furniture suitable as a flat surface for flower arrangements. New beginnings in all their joyful creativity were firmly hidden from view beneath the very solid oak...
Down in the valley I will drain the font when Lent begins, maybe fill it with sand, plant the Lenten prayer tree there...but up the hill it seems to me that there's already a potential risk of dessication. Baptismal water is only allowed to flow within carefully engineered bounds - maybe even trenches - so instead this year I will try to help them risk a little, so that together we may discover life, joy, hope, love bubbling up in all sorts of unexpected places.