When the alarm went at 0745 this morning, it took me a moment or two to come round and switch it off. I heaved myself out of bed to the bathroom, where I considered the day which lay ahead. Run for Janathon, breakfast, 1115 Holy Communion and baptism at St Denys, 1530 Evensong at St John the Baptist, 6 pm Covenant Service at St Mark’s. No, that’s not right, I’m not doing the 6pm, but I know I’m at St Mark’s today……
It was at that point my heart stopped, the ground lurched, and then adrenaline kicked in. Indeed I was at St Mark’s today, presiding and preaching at Holy Communion. At 0800. I refer you back to the time of my alarm.
I live in a Benefice made up of three parishes, with four churches. The closest is less than half a mile away. The furthest is three and a half miles of twisty country lanes frequented on Sunday mornings by horse riders, cyclists and walkers as well as lunatic local drivers. The furthest is, of course, St Mark’s. Where I was meant to be starting a service in about 11 minutes time.
Dressed? Yes, (although not necessarily all the buttons on my short were done up, and I wouldn’t normally wear jeans on a Sunday) and straight into Cassock Alb over the top (that’s the white/off white robe). Book of Common Prayer, Sermon, Bible. Car. Keys. Drive. Like a local lunatic. Fog. Slow a bit. Pray for no horses. No horses, thank God. Service began, five minutes late, with an apology.
I am, regular readers know, not a morning person. But there’s nothing like a massive shock to kick start the day. I stopped shaking when clearing up after, and my heart rate returned to normal at about 0930. I don’t need to exercise today, I’ve managed the elevated heart rate.
I could bore you with the reason why I had forgotten I was doing the 8am, but I won’t. But here is my first opportunity to try to be kind to myself – people make mistakes, people forget things, people get muddled. The congregation were lovely and kind, and one said on the way out “It made the day interesting, and it isn’t the end of the world”. I’ll try to hold that thought.
So next, off to prepare for a Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion, with a Common Worship baptism in place of the sermon. Liturgy purists, look away now.