On Trinity Sunday, 2016, I attended a Church in Wales (Anglican) Communion service with my ninety year old father. There were seven in the congregation. The church sanctuary was somewhat unloved. We quite capably sang a few rousing, Victorian hymns without organ, choir or recorded accompaniment.
Before the communion, I had been asked to do the liturgical calendar reading, from Proverbs 8. For some reason, as I read the last few verses I nearly started crying…why would be hard to answer.
Was it the small elderly congregants dogged loyalty? The humble retired bishop leading the service? The presence of my elderly father (and walking stick)? Or possibly the soul-engaging words of Proverbs 8….?
St Brynach’s Church, Henry’s Moat, Dyfed, Wales
Purple-robed priest blessed bread and wine:
last supper imitation, six people dined;
all kneeled at a shaky altar rail:
imitated saviour, once pinion nailed.
Hymns shakily sung with no organ or choir,
angels seemed absent, no tongues afire;
empty most pews, cobwebbed and dusty,
little heat lacquered the church air musty.
My father’s fingers followed the phrases,
his adventurous life has had many phases;
now needing help to stand for prayers,
God-numbered and grey, his significant hair.
“I was there when heavens set in place,
before moon was given a reflective face;
when sea was given beach boundary line,
God’s world delighted in made mankind…”
Liturgical books to entrance table returned,
snuffed candles, timeless truths relearned;
slowly we exited from typical church-scape:
thirty minutes set aside, for heaven’s sake.
Long grass tickle-fringed Victorian graves,
crooked slate stones, carved hopes brave;
hearts and minds blessed, God is still good:
birdsong greeted us, bees sucked blessed buds.
Proverbs 8: 23
“I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be…”