Sunday 7 December

I woke early and inexplicably on Saturday and 6am is definitely early! A due date for an article for a liturgy magazine was looming so I decided to get down to and had it completed pretty quickly. Then was able to visit a couple of ‘yard sales’ before playing for a funeral. I headed home after that and rested for 3 hours before heading out again for a rehearsal and the two evening masses.

Sunday also started early for the four morning masses. Whilst one sermon seemed to point to the little known fact that John the Baptist foretold the birth of Christ (!) another was stunning. In the second of 4 journeys through Dickens’ Christmas Carol the Pastor referred to scrooge’s refusal to offer a gift and compared him to Jacob Marley. Later he approached a child and exchanged a handshake quite naturally. Then he dipped his hand into a bag of mud and asked her to shake his hand again. Of course she did (which blew his sermon!) but he went on to say that we can’t exclude people because of how they look or smell etc and that life is messy and God is engaged with the mess so we ought to be too!

After the 0730 I stopped to chat with the Knights of St Columba who were offering coffee and donuts. One of them did a lot of fishing but had to admit he rather liked the drinking involved. Hmmm , I thought.

We welcomed a new Cantor at the 1100. She had only been in the parish a few weeks but was an experienced cantor with a welcome touch of humility! Another woman came up to me after the 1230 Mass offering to join the Christmas Choir and to serve as Cantor in the future. My hunch is that there is more to her than meets the eye too.

At 2pm I left the church for a meal at a local restaurant. It was great … lamb shanks with veg etc. Just what I needed to keep me going, I thought. I had agreed to return early to church as some of the Hispanic community who were celebrating OL of Guadalupe had arranged for a mariachi band and I was to introduce them to the sound system. I waited for an hour but there was no sign of them. The compassionate side of me might have considered a breakdown in communication … I was so tired through this relentless day that I wanted a dartboard!

Back in the office I was able to get down to some planning and just making sure I had everything ready for tomorrow morning’s school Mass for the Holiday.

The evening was a blessed relief with two very young musicians making up for everything. They had practised and gave deep honour to God, a point not lost on the congregation who spontaneously clapped at the end of Mass.

Back home by 0845 Stoke are beating Arsenal 3-2 which warms my heart!

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