The kneeler attached to the pew was positively pennetential. The pew itself wasn’t much better. My back is still sore.
It has probably been 15 months since I darkened the door of a church. It has been 3 years since I could call myself a parishioner of anywhere. The liturgy is unchanged, the words rolling off my tongue. I remember the ritual, the places to stand, to sit, to kneel. I can still sing the words of the hymns. I didn’t care for the sermon but that’s always a gamble anyway. As with most Anglican churches I was the youngest by 30 years.
A lifetime of this. Knowing when to stand, to sit to kneel. The responses and the hymns I can recite by heart. All of it, and I struggle to figure out how it all goes together. I am to traditional and to liberal, all at once.
I wonder, thinking of Philip Larkin’s poem. A shape less recognizable each week, a purpose more obscure. Surely Maundy Thursday must be the most obscure. And yet, with all my questions, my misgivings, I find myself like Larkin’s cyclist, bowing my head in awkward reverence.
I still go. At least sometimes.
He is Risen / Risen indeed / Alleluia