I have a confession to make. I suspect I will regret it, but here goes anyway…
As a boy I was in an Anglican Church choir (the photo above is not me, but I suppose my mother aspired to me looking like this!) I had to sit through many evensong services, complete with voices happening somewhere in the distance that sounded totally unintelligible. I still remember the extreme boredom, and the suffocating religious atmosphere. (It is very strange to me how moving I have found some liturgical Anglican services recently- I must be getting old!)
I found that I had to do all sorts of things to cope with the extreme boredom. I was an imaginative little boy, so fortunately it was not a terminal experience, neither for myself, nor ultimately, my faith.
When counting the panes in stained glass windows and feathers in old ladies hats had been exhausted, I would fall back on another trick. We all wore cassocks and starched cotton chalices, and I found that if you put your head into your chalice, you could enter another world! The light in there was lovely, and you could imagine the shapes and sounds that penetrated your secret space where the wild animals or soldiers outside your tent in deepest darkest Africa or the Arctic or Mansfield, or wherever.
I always imagined that no-one knew about my little game, as no-one ever commented or clipped my ear, but given that I was sat in full view of the congregation, people must have seen what I was doing.
After a while (and after a lot more droning), the tent game too became boring, and I had to think of something else. But again, being a resourceful lad, I used what was available to me, so still with my head inside the tent, I hit upon this other game.
The weave of the starched cotton had imperfections that showed up as darker patches. I discovered that if you took careful aim, you could try to hit one of these spots with a little blob of spit.
This usually passed the time quite agreeably…
It amused me now to think of what the good congregation of St Thomas’ Kirkby in Ashfield made of this choir boy with only white-blond hair showing above the cassock, and strange stains appearing on sparkling white chalice!
It makes a useful metaphor don’t you think?
Question- how was the service today dear?
Answer- Lots of spitting at spots…