Monday, 19 October 2015

Moses Wouldn't Like It

Just run into Drayton Parslow. He was reeling from a visit to the new house of a young couple in his congregation, just back from honeymoon.

They asked if he'd come and say prayers for them as a blessing on their house. Obviously being a card-carrying puritan he didn't do that the fun way, with holy water, herbs and tea lights. Instead, soberly, orderly and respectably, he went round the house praying for each room.

Choosing to pray for the activities that go on in each room of the house was probably stretching the brief a bit - but "we pray for the meals that will be eaten in this room, for fellowship and a daily reminder of that Supper to which we are all called" seems fair enough.

It was in the master bedroom that this strategy, combined with Drayton's love of extempore prayer, spiralled into disaster. He seems to have asked - it's hard to tell, for he was a broken man -  for blessing on the holy activities of the marital bed, and for God to lead them away from unclean ones.

So far so excruciatingly toe-curling. But Drayton seems to have gone farther. And actually spelt out the list of which were permissible, and which God hates.

Apparently the young couple told him afterwards that they were grateful for a few suggestions, disagreed about the licitness of a couple of others, believed one is actually illegal, and reckoned two others are anatomically impossible and where did he get his information from?

I've given him a copy of the Beaker House-Blessing Liturgy. He's crossed out all references to holy water and joss sticks, and the "curse on all badgers",  but reckons it's still a safer strategy for the future.


  1. The danger of extempore without the backbone of liturgy. Sounds familiar (although I'm all for encouraging a fair bit of creativity within those parameters).

  2. It was the creativity he was warning about.

  3. I understand that the Liturgy for the Blessing of a Marital Bed was taken out of the Book of Common Prayer after Queen Victoria's 17th Child.

    A pity really, because we could have populated the UK with native workers instead of having to import skilled workers from overseas's and they'd all have shared our culture of bribery and corruption without needing lessons from politicians.

  4. I got the whole house blessed in one go, once. (I think he was in a hurry to get back to the presbytery for Downton Abbey). But it saves a lot of hanging around while they search for inspiration (how do you Bless a shower room?)


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