As I went out to Evening prayer tonight, I finally met the owner of the little red car, parking outside the church. Now, there isn’t any restriction on parking outside church, let’s be clear. But there are times when it’s useful to have it clear – funerals, weddings, funerals with horse drawn hearses…. I know the regular parkers, and I can usually spot the vets’ customers, but the little red car had eluded me.
It felt a little awkward wandering up with a smile and saying hello, because basically what I wanted to know was “Who are you, and where do you live, so I can ask you to move your car very occasionally?” However, this is a friendly place, and we chatted briefly, and I achieved my objective without inducing discord.
I wandered into church, said Evening Prayer, giving thanks for various good things. And when I was done, I sang (the acoustics are wonderful, and there wasn’t anyone around to hear). However, I forgot to stop singing at the door, and sang my way through the churchyard. Which led to surprise on both sides of the lychgate. Because there was the little red car with its bonnet up, and a rather flustered Thatcher (trade, not name). He was struggling to change a headlight bulb. You know what they are like, those bulbs, really tight spaces and fiddly metal clips which bite. In our household, changing them is my job, because my hands are smaller than OH’s.
I offered to help, and so it was that I was to be found swearing very gently and talking to the offending clip. All was replaced, and we conducted the obligatory light test, and discovered he’d carefully removed the wrong bulb. Luckily, he’d saved it, so I had another go, this time replacing the right one. Which was a damn sight easier than the first.
So the thatcher has witnessed the rector muttering enticements and incantations over his car, and the rector has promised the thatcher that she won’t tell his girlfriend because she’ll take the micky out of him. So, please don’t tell her this everyday story of ministry and Christianity. You won’t, will you?