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Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Singing in tune - (1) 7Feb2006

Gathered around the family table, whether that is the local family, at home, or the gathered family of the church around the Communion table, families are interesting. Diverse, varied, assorted; sometimes squabbling, sometimes loving, sometimes romantic, sometimes … but usually both of these families fall silent as we eat!

I was struck by the clergywoman assisting the Archbishop presiding at communion; though and experienced priest in a senior position, she wore a stole as a deacon. Just a Synod game? Purely a liturgical diaconate, the robes of one role hiding the ontology of another? Perhaps; but I think perhaps there was something else being signified here. Not just woman taking a subservient role; but rather reminding all gathered at the service of our call to be servants of the living God.

It reminded me of my ordaining bishop, who in all his letters to clergy in the diocese used to start “Dear fellow deacons & priests”. His elevation (!) to the episcopate did not relieve him of a servant role in the church.

Then there was the music. Synod is an eclectic sort of a body. During the administration of communion, a ‘scratch choir’ gathered from amongst the members sang. It started - well it was rather ropey and wobbly, really. And it wasn’t even in English. It appeared almost a portentous metaphor for the main debate to follow this service of communion. Out of tune, not together, and spoken in words few could understand.

However I was wrong: as they got going, they started to meld together, in time, in harmony, and by the second verse, even in English. Perhaps the music, and the communion, was more positively prophetic than I had given credit for…

Alastair GS101

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