Yesterday was an interesting day!
It started with my church’s men’s breakfast where I led the Bible study, and the subject was “the church”. It was a good time of fellowship and I think the Bible study went down well.
It was then onto to a local (St. John Fisher) Catholic church, where a young friend was taking his first communion. It is a tradition among Catholic families for children as young as 10 to partake in this way and we were invited by our friend’s parents to what was my first experience of such occasions. While to concept is somewhat alien to my own tradition, I get its importance and significance. The service went on (two and a half hours) and for those who are aware of such things will appreciate the various bits that went on, on a glittering occasion. But significantly for me, I learned that this was not mere empty ritual for the clans to come to together and parents to show off etc., but to the credit of the presiding priests, the importance of being sincere followers of Jesus, in a day when to do so could cost us our lives, was rammed home. I should add the service was mainly in Malayalam and partly in English, with most attendees Malayalees, indicating as if I didn’t know already, we live in a richly diverse community, and here one of the positives was on show.
It was then onto our next destination – this time to the magnificent St. Augustine’s Anglican church and another gathering of the clans. This time it was a neigbours baby girl being christened. The service was quite a bit in contrast to that which we had attended less than an hour earlier. It was a lot shorter for a start and yet the serious intent was there and that too had as a central tenet the notion of following Christ as parents and good parents recited their baptismal vows. It was followed by a garden party that went onto late, where we were able to help set up in a small way, and we spent some time interacting with guests, enjoying the feast on offer, on what was a happy occasion, with lots of children involved.
So it was onto my soup kitchen, a regular Saturday evening undertaking. It was very much business as usual although there was a couple of crisis to deal with. I did what I normally do, and which is my privilege, which was interact with an assortment of volunteers and guests, trying to be helpful mindful of some of the harrowing underlying issues that were being faced. And finally onto the party of my Malayalee friends to pick up wife and son and spend a bit of time talking to the guests. All in all, an interesting day and I was grateful that I was in able to play a small part in these diverse occasions. If there is a common thread, it is Christianity can positively manifest itself in many ways, especially when wholesome.