Last Sunday I was asked to accompany an elderly lady to church. I can think of a million ways to spend an hour and this would not be on any of my lists, not in the UK anyway. When I am travelling, somewhere like Bangkok for example, I am there like a shot. I am intrigued by world in which we all co-habit, often with disastrous results.
So, back to last Sunday. Small village church. Overly abundant flower decorations. Small, shiny choristers. Dowdy,hip-limping, WI stalwarts. Prematurely balding, greying,thigh slapping vicar and numerous small children, emitting grizzle and chatter.
We took our places in pew three. I flexed my jaw in readiness. To sing, mime, or stay silent?
And then I remembered, 2012, the year of honesty ( so far, very refreshing).
I could not, would not, mouth words I didn’t mean. Several times I caught the vicar’s eye. I smiled broadly as he sang with gusto, words which seemed to come straight from Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t believe that I either.
I read the words with my eyes. My mind puzzled over their intensity. My lips stayed firmly sealed.
My companion tapped the shoulder of the lady in front of us. An old friend, she whispered to me.
The ‘old friend’ turned and greeted my companion. That done, I introduced myself and held out my hand. Apparently I was not a friend of any kind. She merely nodded and refrained from grasping a stranger’s offer.
However, a while later, when instructed by the vicar to utter some words and turn to shake hands with people around them…there was the hand from the ‘old friend’. Oh, so now, it’s okay to perform a simple polite greeting??
Is this really how people see fit to behave? Extend the hand of friendship but only when instructed to do so by the man they call their leader? Bah or should that be Baa. No wonder the people gathered here are known as a flock.