A late call to a nearby parish to preside at their midweek communion; this finds me with a congregation of ten faithful souls saying the familiar words, making the familiar confession and declaration of faith. Do not hear complaint in the fact there were ten; for a small village, and midweek, this is nothing to complain about. It is the faith and prayers of these folk which keeps the Anglican flame alive in rural parishes, keeps the churches open, ready to welcome, keeps some heart to villages where maybe the pub has closed, the school is in danger of closing, the bus service is not what it used to be, and community life, such as it is, is increasingly the prerogative of the elderly, as younger families retreat behind their doors for the joys of their home cinema.
And our prayers in the communion service brings all this and more before God. We are not there for ourselves, but as those who seek the kingdom heaven here on earth in our community. Imperfect as we are, and with often competing visions as to what that kingdom may look like here, nevertheless we pray 'thy kingdom come, thy will be done'. And we do our bit, motivated by the love which will not let us go, the different glimpses we have seen of glory, the common understanding of being somewhere in the narrative of redemption for our village, our community, our day, ourselves.
'We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed all the world'. Yes, Lord, I believe. Now, I'll just call and see if Mr. Jones needs any shopping.