It’s rare these days that I get to experience a service from the point of view of the congregation – to just be “part of the throng”, as it were. I’ve been part of the music ministry team for a little over a year now, usually leading sung worship up front along with Deborah, and occasionally Annie or Pauline (and sometimes on my own), and being “up front” tends to give you a slightly different viewpoint regarding services. You’re part of the “behind the scenes” side of things.
Every once in a while it’s good to step back down to just be part of the congregation, led instead of leading. This evening, though I was one of several people reading prayers, my time up front amounted to only a few minutes. For all but those few minutes I was just one of many sitting in their pews; and it was good to have this space to reflect on things and view it all with fresh eyes.
It was a quiet, reflective service; a thoughtful sermon by Frances, gentle leadership by Jill. I often have the feeling with some of our clergy that they’ve walked the path often and they are here to guide us, giving us the benefit of their experience; theirs the warm calm promise that they know something good is there. With Jill I often feel that her leadership takes the form of being one of us who’s walked a little way ahead then come skipping back joyously to tell us to come and see the wondrous things she’s seen just around the corner and if we all hurry, we can see them too. Our curate Young Lee often gives me that feeling too – a youthful exuberance that has nothing to do with their actual chronological age.
Of course, a swan may seem placid and calm whilst its legs are furiously paddling just under the surface. 😉
There was washing of feet, holy communion, and a real sense of fellowship amongst the small congregation gathered this Thursday evening. A quiet breath taken before the events of Easter; a sense of peace after a busy, hectic week.
I wonder, too, if Christ felt that sense of a quiet, calm moment before the events that were to befall Him the following day. Could He truly know peace, knowing fully in a way we cannot comprehend, exactly what would befall him before the sun set again?
How lonely indeed that garden in Gethsemane.