Why would buying a tree and decorating it with my son in the morning, make me extremely irritable on the way to church in the afternoon, and cause me to burst into tears while singing ‘The Virgin Mary had a baby boy’, immediately before I was due to get up and preach? I don’t understand myself…
To misquote that wonderful film The Chain, ‘Christmas is a very upsetting experience, people get upset’. Maybe if I get it over now, I will behave perfectly on the big day itself?
By the way, the sermon still went pretty well.
… I will explain some of the incidents on my list of 18/11/08, in random order and only one explanation per post:
6. It was a well known temple of charismania in the north of England. I was with a team running a weekend on gender issues and Christian feminism. The team had asked me to preach on the Sunday. I chose to preach on the Syro-Phoenician (or Canaanite) woman, the only person recorded as apparently changing Jesus’ mind for him. I talked about issues of inclusion and exclusion.
After the service as I descended the aisle I heard one old lady say to another: ‘This church is going from bad to worse’. But then a man buttonholed me and said he was gay but had never dared tell anyone at church, and my sermon was the first time he had felt included. ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘that’s who I was preaching for’.