When God speaks…

I’m not normally awake enough to have interesting conversations at 8am, but this morning was a little different.  I was presiding and preaching at our 8am Holy communion (for those who care about these things, it was Common Worship this week i.e. modern language, not Book of Common Prayer).  8am is generally a said service (no music) and tends to be quiet and reflective in character.  

Our readings were from Isaiah 61 (He sent me to give good news to the oppressed) and John 1 (John the Baptist), and I was preaching inspired by the Today programme – see Avila’s excellent post A Weeble’s wonderings: Mind your attitude!! 

Our 8 o’clockers are a good bunch of people, and so rather than “let’s change our attitudes” I preached “Thank you for being the Good News even in the face of opposition”.  It fitted very well with the Advent 3 readings, Collect (prayer for the week) and the Advent prayers in Common Worship, so the service had the kind of coherence that I’d like to think always happens (I wish).  I know God always shows up to 8 o’clock, but it’s lovely to feel that presence!

The first interesting conversation was with someone who had cried while I preached – she explained that she’d been fighting a battle for years in her social circle on behalf of the oppressed, and no-one had ever said “Thank you” to her for doing so before.  (No-one has ever cried during one of my sermons before as far as I am aware, so I think we are quits).  It made me think – I try to be encouraging rather than admonishing, but need to remember to say Thank You from the pulpit from time to time, as well as from the lectern during Notices.

The second conversation happened when I rushed out with a pair of forgotten gloves to the car park.  “Thanks for a lovely service, I enjoyed it.  Surprising really because I don’t approve of women priests”.  I had to admit that I had no idea what a good reply to that was, but we laughed together and talked some more.

All of which makes me wonder how much more aware of God’s presence I’d be if only I was a bit more awake at 8am.  


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