Archive | 10:23

Church: It’s Complicated

9 Aug

Sunday.  Go to church.  Nothing difficult there, you’d think; I’ve been doing it for years.  Think again.

Our church is now made up of three congregations and, instead of just across the road from my house, it’s a 10-15 minute walk, uphill all the way.  That’s fine, so long as I time it right.

Our church is now made up of high church (old) and modern church (new).  That’s fine, it suits me when I have a writer’s group meeting to go to the earlier, more formal service.

Our church is trying not to be all things to all men (that’s God’s job), but to gently combine the two styles into something unique to our mixed congregation.

So far, so not too interesting.

Our church has a nine-thirty service and eleven-fifteen service (tea & coffee between so the congregations socialise).

Our church has all-age worship, children-go-out-halfway-through worship, sung eucharist, morning prayer, short said service, Holy Communion, all-age morning worship, all-age Holy Communion, four different types of Wednesday communions, and an exhausted vicar.

The first Sunday in the month, there’s one service, a whole-parish worship, which starts at ten-thirty.  When I got up on Sunday morning I knew I was going to the ten-thirty service, because it was the first Sunday in the month.  So no one was more surprised than me when ten o’clock came and it was time for me to get ready – I had fifteen minutes to dress, make up, brush teeth, go to the toilet three times, make a brew for the Hub, kiss him goodbye, and leave.

I had showered, fortunately, but I had it in my head that if I got ready at ten I would be in plenty of time for the ten-thirty service. I realised at ten-o-one that would only happen if I had access to an Enterprise transporter.  Or a bike.

Hmm…molecule separation and re-mashing hadn’t been invented by ten-o-one last Sunday morning; but bikes had.  And I had a bike.  Problem solved.

Hmmm…I had not practised riding uphill at this point, but how hard could it be?

The Hub insisted I take a bike chain with me (‘You know what church people are like: if it isn’t nailed down, they’ll sell it at the next coffee morning’).  He had sorted out a few bike chains but one was a combination lock to which we had lost the combination; one was the ideal length but had no lock; and one was a motorbike chain with a lock and key.  I thrust the motorbike chain into my bag and wobbled off as far as the pavement, where I had to grab hold of a passing neighbour to stop myself falling side-on into the road: motorbike chains weigh almost as much as the motorbikes they don’t let robbers steal.

I tried the bag on my right shoulder, my left shoulder, my right handle bar, my left handle bar and balancing it on the cross bar.  I almost went over the top with that one.  Eventually I sort of had it sort of draped over the middle of the bike and had ridden almost fifty yards.  I reached a short incline.  I had to get off and wheel it because I’d forgotten which handle had the gears on.

I got on again at the top of the incline and rode another fifty yards to the bottom of Northgate Road.  Northgate Road is well named, as it goes north.  And I mean north as in straight up, not north as in the opposite of south on a flat land.  I was game, however, and got as far as one rotation of the pedals before I realised there was something wrong with my bike.  Not moving despite short legs pounding the pedals furiously is a bit of a give away, as is a funny flat floo-ped sound.

I got off the bike and checked everything.  I might as well have given our car the once-over instead for all the good it did, but it was better than not checking everything.  I thought it might be worth running my hands over the tyres.  That’s when I discovered that tyres are dirty, greasy and often layered in dog poo; and that the inner tube had now become an outer tube.

I turned my sad little vehicle around and wheeled it home, floo-peding all the way.

Have I ever mentioned that I have the best husband in the world (despite Sarsm’s claim)?  It takes a couple of hours for his body to de-creak but he dragged himself out of bed, pushed me into the car, and left me outside the church door, waving an emotional goodbye at precisely 10:29.  There are days when I’m glad he didn’t do that back in 1985.

I’m not the only one who had a false start that day.  The joint service is a mix of old and new.  The new starts with a couple of songs to warm us all up and to give late-comers (tut) a chance to grab a seat at the back.  The old didn’t realise that, and started the procession down the aisle with the banners on poles when the first song started, as always.  Then the old discovered their mistake, turned around, and proceeded gravely back up the aisle.

Second warm-up song: same thing.  By the third song, which was the first hymn, the old was late, hanging around at the back of the church, waiting for their cue.

Some people leave everything to the last minute. 

Joke 138

9 Aug

A man placed an ad in the classifieds: “Wife wanted.”

The next day he received a hundred letters.

They all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”

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