Working in a multi parish benefice usually means that Sundays (if you let them) become a marathon. In the whirlwind of chasing between villages so that each little congregation gets a service in its ‘own church’ there is precious little time to stop and chat. For me there is usually a glorious moment somewhere during the eucharistic prayer that God manages to break into the busyness and I get to worship too but there simply is no time to meet him in the pastoral conversations that go on after services. No wonder villagers complain that their vicars are no longer visible or available.
The fifth Sunday in the month should be a chance to slow down and do things differently. Today there is just one service in the benefice-a patronal service for All Saints at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
All Saints is only 2 miles from the main road in one direction and 3 miles in the other. I’ll admit that a lot of it is single track with passing places and we have strange creatures called cows here but as far as the rest of the benefice is concerned you would think it was a foreign country so I will be interested to see how many from outside the village will come this afternoon.
I hope that there will be lots as it is encouraging to worship together with other Christians and 50 gathered together make a much more joyful noise to the Lord than 10. I hope that for one Sunday folks will give up the need to worship in their own village, not treat this as a Sunday off and come and join us.
Here is what we are singing:
Let all the world in every corner sing
Fill your hearts with joy and gladness
the nunc dimittis
Make way, make way
I the Lord of sea and sky
For all the saints.