Saturday 30 April 2011

Dearly beloved...

The service began with an introit, then a hymn, and then a dignitary (the Dean?) launched off with "Dearly beloved..." No "Good morning everyone, nice to see so many here. Hope you didn't find the long wait too tedious..." and other vapourings with which today's parsons seem to find it necessary to begin services. There were plenty of "thee's" "thou's" and "unto's"; the prince of the blood was "this man" who was to be married to "this woman", thus showing that the greatest he and the least he are entitled to the same language in these key rites of passage. There was no threatening , take or leave it "This is the word of the Lord" at the end of the Lesson, no clapping the bride and groom for getting their words right and, thank goodness, no hiatus while everyone wandered around shaking hands with each other on the pretext of wishing them "the peace of the Lord." This was Anglican worship as it should be, conducted with reverence and dignity rather than the false matiness which has infected nearly all our parish churches and even some cathedrals.

It was fun to conclude with the hearty singing of "Jerusalem," which I believe can be interpreted as revolutionary. One of the most impressive political speeches I've ever heard was by George Brown in Cleckheaton during the 1964 election. His peroration was that if we did this, that and the other we really would "build a new Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land." and we all believed him and stood up and cheered. During the singing of the hymn the camera cut to David Cameron. I'm no sure that his market-orientated "devil take the hindmost" new Jerusalem is really what either Gorge Brown or William Blake had in mind.

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