Hub and I are aware of being profoundly tired – an emotional and spiritual tiredness, if you know what I mean, rather than a physical one. So we’ve decided that we don’t want to get involved in any responsibilities with a local church for a few months. Which means we need a church with a large congregation where we can just sit in the seats, worship, relax and recharge the old batteries.
So today we went to St Mary Mag’s in Torquay. There were cars queueing up to get into the car park so that was a good sign. Then we walked in, a friendly person beamed at us and gave us a single leaflet (hurray! so many churches hand you a library!!) and lo and behold, they were serving coffee before the service. Hub and I agreed that churches that do that have got to be a good thing 😉
Then we ambled towards the front of the building – the words all go up on a big screen and I didn’t have my glasses with me so I needed to be able to see! Church filled up with loads of kids, teenage boys and girls sitting in front of us, older people too. A band wandered in and started tuning up, and then in bounded a very lively young vicar, not wearing the trad long frock but in civvies apart from his vicar shirt which he confessed wasn’t quite clean … but that was just as well, because he was going to make the most enormous mess that morning. Which he did, in an excellent talk built around visual aids of a glass kilner jar filled with clean water, then made dirty, then plunged into a large bowl full of soapy water, to emerge fresh and clean again. Although one of the little boys was on to him. ‘You had another jar in there!’ he said triumphantly. The vicar owned up :))
Lots of enthusiastic singing led by the band, little kids jumping up and down at the front of the church and waving flags, Yorkie bars for all the men (NOT FOR ANY GIRLS, said the vicar) for Father’s Day. A special thanksgiving and blessing for a little girl, and then a row of people who were going to be baptised, asking them how they had come to this point. One guy said he’d been in trouble with the law for many years, but he’d turned around and started coming back to God, and he wanted to get baptised to show God he loved him and he was serious. A woman said she had been on drugs for many years, and loved God because he had helped her to come off them and start a new life, which she wanted to continue.
All very moving, and the more so because people were shy and hesitant, and not used to talking in front of others, but wanting to share the special things that were happening in their lives.
The baptisms took place in the sea after the service, and everyone had been encouraged to come along and bring a picnic. Fortunately it’s a sunny day!
After the service, as is common with many churches these days, anyone who wanted prayer for healing was invited to go into the side chapel. So I took Madame Thumb and explained to the nice couple who were there that she needs praying for … It was great being prayed for. I’m a great believer in praying for healing – well, for anything really. My attitude towards healing is that God is able to heal us any way He wants – whether miraculously, or through surgery and medicine – it is up to Him.
Found Hub afterwards talking to one of the people who was going to be baptised, a guy in his 70s who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer 11 years ago and given 18 months to live. Quite some story.
It was a lovely and lively experience, slightly chaotic but all very positive, and we both feel we will amble along there for the time being.
Only next time we might try the more trad service at 9am