Oh, this is interesting. I received the hymn numbers for tomorrow morning at 4 pm, which is a bit later than I can be bothered to go down to the church to practise. You may (or may not) know that my piano is living away from home at present. Four hymns, three of them unfamiliar to me – but then, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the tunes are. I couldn’t find my music copy, so looked up the words. One by Graham Kendrick. Okay. I don’t know it then (that is, anything by GK that I know, I know I know). Another dates from 1978. Don’t know that one. Another is mid-Victorian – well, at least I’ll be able to sight-read it then. The fourth is Make me a channel of your peace and I’m on sure ground there.
Pondering over this and other church-related things while I was heating soup, I remembered that I’d turned off the heating after the 8am service last week, as the Remembrance Sunday service was elsewhere, and I’d not turned it on again. So, after dinner, I left my final [unless I change my mind 😉 ] glass of wine unfinished after dinner and pedalled busily off to turn it on again. Whilst there, I fetched the hymn book. So, Even As I Write, I am about to look at these unfamiliar hymns and see if there’s a hope in heaven of playing them. (Live Blogging!!(!))
1 The GK looks okay. 3/4 time always runs the risk of namby-pambiness, but at least it makes the rhythm easy.
2 The one I know
3 Broken for me looks deceptively tricky. It’s one of those ones with a flowing left hand and long pauses in the right, so I’l have to play it quite briskly so that we don’t all go to sleep. May be as easy as it looks.
4 Looks traditional and straightforward.
Only one other problem. If I don’t know them, the congregation won’t either. We don’t have a choir. Oh joy.
And so I’ll come back to this Communion what-have-you. There are two things. One is more personal, that is, I feel weird about the thought of it. I agree, it is deeply meaningful and spiritual and fundamental (if you happen to be a Christian, that is – if not, it’s just deeply creepy) but that means it isn’t something to do casually, without preparation, and I really shy away from that. I’m *cough cough* not worthy, if you like to put it that way. I don’t know how else to. I feel I shouldn’t. Mind you, I’ve received Communion from lay people who may be no worthier than I, but that’s not the point. I’m not comfortable with leading prayers either. When, a couple of years ago, the Fellow and I had to take a service, I rapidly volunteered to do the sermon so that he’d do the prayers. I was all right with that (and I did write notes; bullet points, that is, but I didn’t need to look at them), but it hasn’t made me want to do it again.
The second thing is that I’m busy already in most services. Last week, I was sidesman. Tomorrow, I will be organist. The week after, I’ll be playing the clarinet and making coffee (with my left foot, I’ll be cracking walnuts). Always, I’m on duty as churchwarden – and I’m not complaining, it’s part of the job. But I get nothing out of a church service, and haven’t for years. Where’s the still small voice? Drowned out by busy-ness, usually. If I take on yet another thing, even occasionally, it will be in addition to the rest, and I know how these things work, “oh, you’re deaconing, will you do the prayers tomorrow?”
There’s another thing, actually. I don’t actually go for the whole transubstantiation thingy. As far as I’m concerned, that’s for Catholics. It’s symbolic, that’s all. So I can’t say the words. I don’t go as far as the Nonconformists, mind you, with their individual glasses of juice. The symbolism of one shared chalice of wine is, for me, the point. Unfortunately, we do have individual wafers – I’d prefer a torn bread roll, for the same reason.