Monday, May 20, 2019
Church days have a lovely way of starting you off in the right direction. The focus is on 'up', rather than 'down'. Today's service included so many nice bits that everyone was glad they had come, and I noticed a lot of smiling. A lady member had just turned 95, and was surprised to hear the whole congregation bursting into the birthday song just for her! The organist played along with a great grin on his face (and a little bit of fancy footwork), making the lady blush and smile back.
But just when we were thinking of the organist, an announcement was made. The organist was going to hang up his foot pedals and retire! Everyone's joy froze just a bit, even mine, and I do not live here. Peter is an organist of unusual ability, and it struck us all (I'm sure) to ask ourselves, How will we get along without him?
The church will find someone marvelous, I am sure. It's just slightly hard to fathom it. But we all adjusted our thinking, placing our attention back onto the Vicar who was beginning his sermon. I knew it would be a good sermon, because he is a good Vicar. The sermon was all about what we are looking forward to at the end of our lives, when Heaven comes for us. The Scripture reading was from the Revelation which described the new Heavens and the new Earth. He reminded us of the wonderful final book of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, "The Last Battle", where Peter and Edmund are trying to work out why this new Place made them remember the earthly place they had just left. They concluded that the earthly place was but a shadow of this Heavenly one; that far from being boring, it was exceedingly good, and right in every way. That He was there, the great Aslan whom they had come to know whilst they lived in shadow. Sermons like this are sometimes rather thin on the ground, and it is grand to know they are happening with regularity in St Ives, Cornwall.
And that was not the end of the blessings of this day, for we trekked down to the splendid St Hilary's church for a concert of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir! St Hilary's itself was unique, and quite 'high church' with the stations of the Cross placed around its walls and its Madonna and Child paintings, each one lovely and different from the others. And then, our men came strolling down the aisle, ready to knock our socks off (is that an Americanism?) (I don't really think the MMVC was thinking of our socks at all). With their eyes fixed upon the conductor, Stephen, they took us all on a musical journey that placed our focus back on 'up'! In between songs we enjoyed hearing Stephen's introductions, and since we were sitting so close to him we understood almost everything he said. There were only a few dodgy spots where, I wasn't just sure. But it is always fun trying translate the Cornish.
Taken as a whole, it was a terrific day. And thanks to the Vicar, and the music, and my wonderful friends, it is easier to keep the focus Upward, even while living in the shadow of Things to come.
See you along the Way!