Okay. After last night's awards ceremony, I thought i'd have a leave pass, and a three day post-Easter weekend. The last three days feel like a week and a half.. But I'll do the hard yards and accept an invite to the institution of the new Minister of the City church. We work with them very much as they're one of the oldest buildings in the town, and tour groups love the 1870s quaintness of a rough-hewn pioneer place of worship.
So okay, a 6pm function to welcome the new Minister. A few well-known hymns, an "Our Father" a, cup of tea and a scone, and it's all in time to be at back at home for dinner with Brainsister by 7:30. Or that's how I organise functions. We all want to be home for tea. But not this time. (Should have picked up on it yesterday with Deacons doing sound checks all over the Church at a never before seen level)
I arrive two, yes TWO minutes late. Entire congregation is singing that hymn from Mr Bean, "God praise him! Halelujua! Haleeeee-luuuuuuuuga!" I'm hurredly ushered to the third pew from the front on the right. Next to the Mayor. (This was meet and greet and a scone, right?) I'm confronted by a Bishop in robes and a Mire board hat. (Never knew they folded flat when they're taken off, I was surprised.) Of course next to me, closer to the wall, was a full Church minister who knew all the hymns, and could sing. (Colleges are moving their mouths, so I variously say 'Rhubarb Rhubarb', sing the nice hymns I like just as songs, or when it gets to "Let us repeat out baptismal prayers" I was never BAPTISED you presumptuous BASTARDS! I just started saying things about the the holy knot of god and flare internal placed inside us by his grace for our enjoyment. So I had my fun there. Until...
All come forward for Holy Eucharist! Most were fine, other than those who take this seriously and wanted to. Where was I? to the left of those on the right hand side of the aisle (DON'T ARRIVE TWO MINUTES LATE!) who wanted to receive. So... I need to move into the aisle to let those in. The usher in the isle afterwards shoves me forward into the queue. What the heck do I do? Being me, I follow what everyone else around me is doing, when it comes to a point like this. This says a lot about me, but it's not politic to cause a scene at this point. So what did I get/learn?
I got a gluten free wafer that would have been nicer with some aged cheddar, and a sip of wine that was appallingly sweet. We were asked if we'd like gluten or non-gluten body, so why the hell weren't we asked if we'd like sweet or dry blood?
It's funny when you're the only one out of those you work with who aren't just those who grew up in it and lapsed, but never knew anything about it at all and feel like you're suddenly taking part in a pseudo- cannibalistic death cult that you've only read about and yet is at the literal heart of your community.