Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A visit to church

It rained on Saturday night. A lashing, crashing, fighting storm of wind and water, throwing themselves at my window. It was the kind of night that you are really grateful to have a house and a warm bed to snuggle in, and a couple of DVDs to watch (please note, Four months, 3 weeks, 2 days, the Romanian film, while very good, is by no means a light-hearted little Saturday night movie.) The plan was for an early night and an early rise. To go to church.

Yes, I said it… to go to church. The last time I went to church, other than for weddings/christenings/funerals was, I think, in 1993, when I trundled off with my best friend K at university to see what the beautiful Catholic church looked like. It was more an architectural visit, than a spiritual one, I’m afraid.

My religious affiliations lie, well, all over the place. I’m not a believer of organised religion, although I do believe there’s something out there, bigger than us. I don’t believe that it is a judgemental presence spouting petty laws as I think are spouted in many religions by humans claiming to know these things (and here I generalise terribly, forgive me.) I do believe that church supplies a community which many people enjoy, and need. Other’s dont, and shouldn’t be chastised for that decision.

You get the idea, I don’t want this to turn into a sermon! Snigger. Back to Sunday. I decided to go to church (and the Afrikans, I thought conservative, type too) because G had said she’d like to go to the beautiful old church in her university town with an amazing organ in it and I asked if I could join her. Mainly to listen to the organ, but also to see what attracts her (and others) to it.

So off we set on a temperamentally-weathered morning. We left early, before the world woke. It was all washed clean and shiny and gorgeous, with rain interspersed with flashes of sunlight. We stopped on the way for a Wimpy burger and coffee (my favourite breakfast… sis!) and arrived early at the church. It had rained, a lot, on our way, but as we arrived, the rain stopped, allowing a comfortable, and dry little trip from car to church.

It was beautiful, with stained glass windows through which the sun shone (until there was another, HUGE, downpour) and the organ music filled me like a cup of warm tea. They sang. A lot. And the (lady!) minister delivered a very interesting sermon. And then the rain moved away so we could get dryly back to the car, and it was calm. That’s it, I think, there’s a sense of calm in the organised structure of it.

I had more to say, but the words aren’t forming. I think I’ll just think some more. I called my mother on the way home. She is a church-goer, of the Anglican persuasion. This was the conversation:

Shiny: Hi mum, I’ve just been to church with G.
Shiny’s Mum: What? Tell her she’s achieved the impossible. Didn’t you get rained on, it’s pouring?
Shiny: Nope, the rain stopped when we got out of the car, came back while we were in church, and stopped again when we came out.
SM: You see? God was looking after you.

Well, yes, quite. I’ve always believed the Bigger Presence is a generously kind being.

More weekend stories to come. It's not every weekend you watch an implosion!


Angela said...

Congratulations, Shiny! Yes, once in a while I enjoy going to church, too, and like you, I accept the general "goodness" of having churches around, and a place to meet in silence and singing and listening to a sermon (if it doesn`t intimidate me). But like you, I don`t let preachers or let alone bishops lead my life for me (I am a Protestant anyway, which expresses it just right), as I know they don`t know more than me of what God wants. But yes, a good idea to spend the rainy morning, AND enjoy the sunshine (God`s little treat for you)!

Shiny said...

Geli - all so true. I love the word 'Protestant', it's so loaded x