From our Church Mag – April

So that’s that for another year

Nearly 2 solid months of constant attack in the name of regulatory compliance, but finally the auditors have gone and the accounts have been signed off. The FSA returns have been posted to Canary Wharf and I am apparently a legend in the office for not even blinking when I downed 2 chilli vodka shots at my boss’s farewell party Thursday night. Emma that sits diagonally opposite me is amazed I only got ratty with the audit juniors twice, but like I said last month, Eddie’s Mind the Gap session on temper tantrums has helped a lot. I haven’t even got wound up by Flatulent Woman who gets on the train at Upminster sitting next to me a couple of times.

Now the pressure’s off, though, it makes me think what am I going to until next February.

Still, we all know who finds work for idle hands, so rest assured I’ll find something before that happens.

***

I don’t get up to St. Mary’s as often as I’d like, but when I caught diabetes 13 years ago, it made me really tired all the time and I couldn’t wake up early enough on Sundays. That’s where animals come in handy. They get so used to the alarm clock going off at half six in the week that they yowl for breakfast at much the same time at weekends when the clock’s turned off. Oh well, no peas for the wicked as they say.

So, not being able to sleep, I nipped up the hill recently for my weekly devotions. I have to say it’s not three bad still having half the morning left afterwards, not to mention that I might also get some different material for the column. I didn’t have to wait long either. In fact, it happened the second I walked in. A sidesperson was only clicking people in on some gadget, one for adults, one for minors, because of health and safety rules. I ask you.. What has happened to this country? Could I share something with the jobsworths that insisted on this piece of petty bureaucracy? St. Mary’s ain’t that big. In an emergency I don’t see it taking long to get everyone out safely without having to count them afterwards. I don’t recall being clicked in at St. John’s even though there are more nooks and crannies for the really determined to hide themselves in there than at St. Mary’s. That’s progess, I guess.

Later on, as the choir came walking down the aisle, I spotted one lady wearing a badge on her choral frock. My first though was that it may be some sign of good behaviour like a Blue Peter badge, or of long service like the stars McDonald’s staff wear. But no, as the lady drew closer, I saw that it bore the word “Listener”. One of the weekly topics in this year’s Lent course was that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak, coincidentally.

Listening is a precious commodity, so could someone explain why most of our listeners are women?

***

Talk about small world. It turns out my window cleaner also washes our Ron and Jean’s windows too. He’s a nice feller, Lee that is, not Ron, although I’m sure Ron’s a nice bloke too. Like many who make their living climbing ladders with squeegee and bucket, Lee is a Jehovah’s Witness. I have some really interesting conversations on my doorstep with Lee when he calls round for his money. Now, from what I can gather, so does Ron. I have long admired the JWs for having the guts to knock on people’s doors with their message – coincidentally much as we have been exhorted this Lent to find our voices when opportunities present themselves– but I’ve never quite understood what the difference between them and us is. There are interpretations they take from the bible that are a bit too literal in my view, like there was never rain on this planet until Noah’s flood, but they believe Jesus is the Son of God the same as us. So why are we different? I feel Lee has finally answered that one for me. It seems they do not believe in the Trinity, i.e. God in three persons. For them, Father, Son and Spirit are separate. I have told Lee that he’ll never persuade me to agree with all his beliefs and that I don’t expect to convert him to my way of thinking, but I’m always happy to talk about God with him. May we have many such talks before God calls us to be with Him. Amen.

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