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Monday, 31 October 2016

Programme for Samhain

I think it's generally understood that the ancients pronounced their word for Halloween "Sawin'." What's less understood is why, since they didn't have written language, we can't just spell it properly. Although cutting-edge research at the University of Newport Pagnell has revealed that the word Samhain itself comes from a proto-Indo-European root that means "tacky merchandise."

1800: Apple Bobbing

1900: Ritual of hipsters blow-drying their beards.

1930: Trick or Treat (choice of costumes - Seumas Milne, Michael Gove or Paul Hollywood. The traitor).

2000: Hunting of the Trump - in which the Community try to find the mythological creature that is half monster half drivel. And which, if caught, dissolves in a pool of perma-tan until only its hair is left.

2100: Burning of the Wicker Baby. Strictly an experimental all-age ritual, part of our concept of "Messy Paganism." We may have to drop this if reviews are unfavourable.

2130: Serving of the Pumpkin Pie.

2131: Remembering why we never eat Pumpkin Pie.

2200: Burning of the Wicker Rabbit. Again, this may not become a regular fixture.

2230: Ghost hunt in Bogwulf chapel. NB since we know there is a real Black Shuck hangs out there, we advise this should be more of a thought experiment. Imagine a cow-sized black dog with green eyes that sucks your soul out through your navel? Yeah. That's certainly why I avoid the place afte dark.

2300: Being chased around the place by fundamentalists with forks and pitchforks. Same as every year.

Midnight: Burning of the Wicker Man. No complaints expected.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Accidental Revelation in an Ad-hoc Intercession

"And so we just pray that Magwood might recover from his haemorrhoids, while his painful secret might be kept from the general public as he's always been a bit sensitive about these things - in more ways than one..."

Friday, 28 October 2016

Nanagrams

SIR, DO

BLAME

LETHE

VOILE

EAR MENU

JAR OR MY

THY DOOR

ARC SOD

That All Saints' Tide Weekend Calendar in Full

Friday 28 OctoberHalloween Friday
Saturday 29 OctoberHalloween Saturday / All Saints' Eve (transferred)
Sunday 30 OctoberAll Saints (transferred) / Halloween Eve (transferred)
Monday 31 OctoberHalloween / All Saints' Eve (unless that was Saturday)
Tuesday 1 NovemberAll Saints' Day (unless that was Sunday) / All Souls' Eve (transferred)
Wednesday 2 NovemberAll Souls' Day
Thursday 3 NovemberPumpkin Soup

Liturgy of the Calculation of the Attendance Figures

(Inspired by Charlie Peer)

Vicar: Fallen! Fallen are the attendance figures!

Treasurer: And surely the free will offerings decline as well.

Vicar: The numbers are counted, the averages weighed, the pews stand empty, and we are not growing.

Treasurer: Or solvent. Let's stick to the important stuff.

Wardens: Well, Harvest was in October last year. So that makes a difference.

Vicar: Harvest is always in October.

Wardens: And then the Smiths were away for a week.

Vicar: They go to Spain every autumn half term.

Wardens: Well, half term was in October.

Vicar: Like it is every year.

Wardens: And Mabel was ill with 'flu.

Vicar: Mabel is always ill with 'flu. Mabel has been ill with 'flu for so many years she is featured in Robert Winston's new documentary series, "Malingerers."

Wardens: And then the Newbold children play football on Sundays.

Vicar: The Newbold children left home 17 years ago. The older girl is now a retail executive and the boy is a professional tattoo artist. If they're also playing football, it isn't impacting our year on year attendance figures.

Wardens: And then more people are coming midweek....

Vicar: They're the same people who come on Sundays. Now they're all retired they can make Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes on the way to Over-60s afternoons at the cinema.

Wardens: We've asked people in the congregation what we should do to attract more worshippers...

Vicar: ...and they said, leave everything exactly as it is. Look. The congregation is 58 this year. Last year it was 62. How many funerals of the regular congregation did we have last year?

Warden A: Four.

Warden B: Yes, Ethel's not been coming to church so much since she's been dead.

Treasurer: The legacies are a bit of good news, amidst all the doom and gloom.

Vicar: So what should we do? The last rise in Sunday attendance was when they changed the Parish Share calculation and we stopped rounding down.

Wardens: Perhaps another midweek serviced?

Vicar: Good thinking!

The time Eileen was Having a Bad Day and Misquoted 1 Corinthians 13 in a Wedding Serrmon

Love hurts. Love is a battlefield. Love, love will tear us apart. (I'm just a lonely, alcoholic) Teenager in love. What's love got to do with it? He never mentioned love. No I don't want to fall in love - (this girl is only gonna break your heart). Love is not a victory march - it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah. Tainted, love.

If  we say "God is love", its small wonder that everybody hurts.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Rainbow Mega-Unicorn Brings in the End Times

Been a bit of a 36 hours.

That last plush unicorn created a terrifying chain reaction. The mass of plush unicorns shoved into the Moot House was sufficient to generate what is technically called a unicornity. And they fused into one giant unicorn.

The massive unicorn lifted the Moot House up on its back like a giant, weird (obviously) unicorn-tortoise hybrid and started frolicking around the grounds.

Pity poor Drayton Parslow who, going for his daily prayer walk where he calls down condemnation on all his neighbours, saw a giant plush rainbow unicorn wrapped in a place of worship, and assumed it was a sign of the End. He fell on his knees and begged not to be eaten.

I'm not criticising him. Who can say they would not have done the same, in his situation? Could happen to any of us.

The mega-unicorn however continued to gallop through the community. Noticing the barn where we press apples and doilies, it charged in for a snack. In the process smashing both the Moot House and the roof of the barn.

It then made the mistake of falling into the brook. Now this is a big unicorn, and a small stream. But you know how plush toys soak up water. It just slowed it for a moment as its feet got heavy. Put its feet back in the brook. Got a bit heavier...

You get the idea. Eventually the sodden, muddy beast toppled over sideways. The component original unicorns popped out, in a manner you could only imagine if you'd seen Gremlins. They danced in a magical, ethereal circle for a moment. And then reverted to plush immobility.

So we're Moot House-less again. Goodness knows it's caught fire or exploded enough times. But being smashed while on the back of a giant unicorn is a new one. Looks like we're  back in Bogwulf Chapel for a while.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Unicorn Critical Mass

It had to happen. Every member of "Little Pebbles" demanded their parents buy them a plush 3' tall unicorn.

And, as it is written that pester power shall always triumph, they headed to the Beaker Bazaar and shelled out their 90 quids to buy the mythological soft toys.

And they headed into the Moot House, to join the unicorns of assorted gender, and binary or non-binary self-identification, pan-sexual, same-sexual and asexual as the choice moved them. Many of them just identified as "unicorns".

So many unicorns, indeed, that the Moot House filled with unicorns. No space for anything but unicorns. None of us could get in there. The Moot House was full of plushness. Where, we wondered, could we go from here? How could the Moot House be more unicorn or plusher?

And then Maygray wandered down the Corridor of Uncertainty into the Moot House door, and shoved one more unicorn into the mix. Just one more plush unicorn.

What could possibly happen?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Liturgy for People Who Found Out Who's Died in "Walking Dead"

Archdruid: Who has told the things we have heard?

All: Things no English person should have known until 9pm BST.

Archdruid: Let those who have ears to hear, shut them up.

All: Like the ears of the brazen serpent,

Archdruid: Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers.

All: Charm they ever so wisely.

Archdruid: Let us be like those who have eyes but do not see.

All: Unless they look on Twitter and...

Archdruid: You've done it haven't you?

All: We have seen and now we repent on the ground in dust and ashes.

Archdruid: We have become even like unto the Likely Lads.

All: Those who in the time of our fathers and mothers tried not to hear whether England had won the match.

Archdruid: And Facebook and Twitter and people at work..

All: ....have become to us like Brian Glover.

Archdruid: Tell it not in Alexandria.

All: Proclaim it not in Atlanta.

B52s: We're heading down the Atlanta Highway....

All: Looking for the love getaway.

Archdruid: Get out of it, O B52s of "Rock Lobster" fame. If you'd had appeared in "Walking Dead" you'd have ruined an entire series.

All: Although maybe supplied that vital hint of camp that is so missing among the drabness, grimness, blood and brainless zombies?

B52s: Love Shack, baby, yeah!

All: Love Shack, baby!

Archdruid: Go in peace, to look away from the screen.

All: Lucille, why can't you be true?

Archdruid: It's England 2, Bulgaria Nil.

All: And we know just how those Bulgarians feel.

Your 15 Minutes Start Now

If you can fill your mind with God in 15 minutes, neither your mind nor your God are big enough.

Discerning Gifts

Gifts are distributed to all members of the church. And yesterday  we discerned the special gift of Jezmir.

I'm pleased to announce it's "Stacking the Dishwasher Efficiently."  Not in any of Paul's lists, but then let's fact it, they didn't have dishwashers.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Rainbow Unicorn Coalition

It had to happen. To ensure there is no heteronormativity about the Moot House, Alfie and Annie the Unicorns have been supplemented by Sam and Bill the Rainbow Unicorns. Though, to save some money, the people who bought them have refused to say whether they're male unicorns, female ones, or indeed even what pronouns they use. Otherwise they'd have to buy a lot more unicorns.

Drayton Parslow, of course, was deeply disapproving when he heard about this.  Although he's been busy. He wanted to go and picket the Life Drawing class at the Reading Room. Says this is the sort of thing Husborne Crawley has been reduced to. But then he changed his mind at the last minute, in case he met any nude people. Odd, I didn't imagine they'd turn up nude. And I thought it was just meant to be the models, not the artists as well. Drayton says we're becoming more like the Cities of the Plain every day. I presume he means Sodom and Gomorrah, not Luton and Stansted.

Born of a Virgin

Thanks to Bertrick for introducing us to a new Hillsong credal hymn today. I wonder a bit though...

Our Father everlasting
The all creating One God Almighty
Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Saviour

Is it possible that, through the determined effort to avoid mentioning the source of Jesus's human nature (his mum) this song has descended into grammatical nonsense and a particularly weird kind of heresy? Answers on a CD please. (Hint - I think the word required here was "begetting").

The Changing Colours of LIfe

It's always seemed a bit "them and us", the way services are printed out with normal print for the service leaders and bold for the "All" parts.

That's why we opted for non-status-based liturgy today. We put the words up with the green text for the leader and the red text for the congregation.

I would like to apologise to all the people who have colour blindness. And all the people who identify as colour blind. It must have been very confusing for you all.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Alfie the Unicorn gets a Mate

Aah.  How sweet was that? Inspired by the presence at the Noah presentation yesterday of Alfie the Unicorn, at this morning's Pouring out of Beakers he was joined by Annie the Unicorn. Nice to know that he may have missed the boat, but he found love. Well done to Irenic and Ranulf for buying Annie for their daughter, little Calculi. We're going to have to order some more plush unicorns for the Beaker Bazaar!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Alfie the Unicorn Misses the Ark

What a lovely children's service we had today. Would especially like to say the portrayal of the story of Noah was charming.

Poor little Alfie the Unicorn-  forgot what day the Flood was, and left behind at the end as the Ark sailed off. Not a dry eye   I'm not sure if the Genesis account does include Alfie's bodily assumption into heaven. But if it doesn't, it ought to. I'm sure the Pope could sort something out.

And of course it was important that, just as the waves lapped at Alfie's feet, God intervened like that. Because it reinforced the message that there is always a happy ending, because we're worth it.

And Alfie was a real winner with the kids. A three-foot tall, plush unicorn with a winning look.  Makes you wonder how Noah could ever forget such a sweety.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Feast of St Frideswide of Oxford

Hnaef: I mean, really, do we have to?

Archdruid: Shut up, Cambridge Boy. We celebrated your lot didn't we?

Hnaef: Yes. Well, you remembered Cranmer...

Archdruid: There you are then.

Hnaef: You lit a bonfire...

Archdruid: Of course. That's what we do.

Hnaef: You don't think that was... a bit tactless?

Archdruid: OK-  it's St Frideswide's Day. Bit of respect?

Hnaef: So what did she do?

Archdruid: Search me. Something out Godstow way, weren't it?

Hnaef: You don't know what she did?

Archdruid: Not a Scooby. This is Oxford. We are the right-brained, cuddly university. Honey-coloured stone, dreaming spires, punting through the Parks on a hazy June evening, running the country.... we don't do logic and nerdism.

Hnaef: WHAT DID FRIDESWIDE DO? SHE'S YOUR PATRON SAINT.

Archdruid: Don't know. Don't care. Have a tea light? And stop being so Cambridge...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Melania Trump's Interview - The Subtitles

My husband, ten years ago, was recorded saying that he liked to sexually abuse women, and could get away with it because he was rich.

This is nothing like the man I know. After all, in those days he was just acting like an easily-led, boastful teenager. Whereas he is now 10 years older. Which must make him at least - what - 23?

The fact that all those women came forward, saying he did exactly the sort of things he said he did is a complete coincidence.

That he could be led to say stupid things by somebody so clever and devious as the least-bright member of the Bush family proves that he is easily led, and keen to impress more powerful personalities than himself. So none of this is his fault.

I'm sure there is no chance of him coming up against strong, devious personalities if he is President of the United States. So of course he should have the job.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Minutes of the Moot Meeting

1. The meeting started with the lighting of a tea light and a period of warm fuzziness.

2. Minutes of the Last Meeting: Charlii said that judging by the minutes, everyone had been on strong drugs at the last meeting.

3. Drayswulf suggested we revisit all the decisions of the last meeting as they seemed a bit radical. Eileen said why not, that's what we do every month after all.

4. Mission: Jesmir suggested some kind of Mission would be good. Everyone agreed. Eileen said we probably wouldn't want to do anything specifically Beaker as that would be implying we had something special worth sharing. Proposal: That we all have a bit of a think about Mission-  passed nem con.

5. The Flower Arrangers have annexed the Craft Cupboard. The Messy Church have pointed out that the Craft Cupboard is theirs. The Flower Arrangers claimed that the Craft Cupboard has been a part of their territory since 1749, and they have reinforced their claim with a number of drone strikes against the Music Group.

6. Eileen announced she has sacked the bell ringers. It was pointed out we don't actually have any bells. Eileen therefore announced an appeal to build a bell tower, with a three-year plan to sack the ringers after they have started.

7. The Committee to decide whether to move the tea light stand a bit reported back. They aren't sure whether to move it 6 or 7 inches to the left. Oznir asked whether they had considered moving it to the right. They hadn't, but will take it away and report back in the new year.

8. The Catering Committee asked whether, in the light of the Marmite embargo, we should switch to an alternative spread. A sub-committee was elected to consider possibilities such as jam, honey or marmalade.

9. The treasurer, Burton, said he was unable to give a report as the Invoices Shed has once again spontaneously combusted.

10. The Archdruid reported on her recent short fact-finding trip to Jersey.

11. The possibility of an ecumenical event with the Guinea Pig Worshipers of Stewartby was discussed and discarded, on the grounds that they're a bunch of "rodent-obsessed heretics who smell of straw."

12. The meeting ended with a fight at 2am.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Prayer in Remembrance of 1066 - With Specific Reference to the Celtic and Beaker Folk

Oh Lord, who looked over the Battle of Hastings and cast thy comet into the sky to terrify that useless get Harold.

WHAT ABOUT THE CELTS?

AND THE BEAKER FOLK?

AND THE PICTS?

I suppose you just expected us to light a few tea lights, play a bodhran and bear with it in thy divine mercy,

What is this germanocentric attitude to the world of the 11th Century that sees the whole thing in terms of a fight between a Saxon kingdom and a French one - when in fact the Normans were bloody Scandinavians and the whole thing was basically an interdynastic row between two bunches of Germans?

Have you forgotten what the Normans did to the Welsh? And the Irish? Those castles didn't just appear all by themselves. And Godwinson was just a jumped up yokel who was in the right place at the right time.

And then there was that whole "Battle of Stamfordbridge" thing. Didn't get its own collect. Presumably because the English won that one, so there was no need for liberal angst.

So we remember all those people who were already in the British Isles when the Saxons turned up - who were ignored by the Normans, the Saxons and - let's face it - the Church of England while God and his angels slept.

Whose side was God on? Not ours, if you ask the C of E.

Liturgy for Installing a WiFi Connected Printer

Archdruid: Have you pressed button A?

All: We have pressed button A.

Archdruid: And flasheth the blue light?

All: The blue light flasheth.

Archdruid: And who holdeth the router?

Router Bloke: I do.

Archdruid: Then press the button on the router, Router Bloke.

Router Bloke: All righty.

Archdruid: And can the laptop see the printer, Hnaef?

Hnaef: The laptop cannot see the printer. There is no vision of the printer. Bereft, the laptop wandereth the network and findeth not a printer.

Archdruid: Which button didst thou press on the router, Router Bloke?

Router Bloke: The On/Off button.

Archdruid: And hast thou now lost all light from the eye of the router?

Router Bloke: Indeed. The light hath fled from the eye of the router and it blinketh not.

Archdruid: Thou'st switched off the router, instead of pressing the Button of Connection. Thou great nerk.

Router Bloke: Indeed, I bewail my stupidities and shall cast myself on the ground in dust and ashes.

Archdruid: Or thou couldst just switch it back on again?

Router Bloke: Awake, O Sleeper!  And bind the devices of this house again together with thy WiFi.


Archdruid:  OK.  Let's try again. Have you pressed Button A?

All: We have pressed Button A.

All: Behold! For the printer now printeth.

Burton: No. That's just the test page. I was fiddling around...  I'll switch it off and back on again...

He presses the power button. 

The printer continues to print.

He holds the power button down. 

The printer continues to print.

Eileen may at this point utter some drastically unclerical expressions involving Burton and the printer.

Marston Moretaine pulls out the plug. 

The printer continues to print. 

Eileen pulls the fuses out of the fuse box, throwing the Great House, Moot House and the whole of Husborne Crawley into darkness.

The printer continues to print.




Three hours later

Hnaef: And so we commit this printer to the landfill, microchip to microchip, the casing which Eileen has so cruelly smashed with a cricket bat to dust, in sure and reckless disregard of the WEEE regulations....

Friday, 14 October 2016

Liturgy for a Clown Service (Revised Clowning Lectionary)

Clown:

All: Aagh!  A clown!

All Exit

Badger:

All: Aagh! A badger!

All run back into the Moot House

Clown: No I'm one of the.....

All: Aagh! A clown!

All Exit

Badger:

All: Aagh! A badger!

Repeat as many times as a 1970s chorus when the worship leader works in a coffee bar.

1-coco the clown
What could be scarier than a stone clown in a graveyard?


By Theroadislong (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Liturgy for the Battle of Hastings 950th Anniversary

Hymn: The War Song (B. George)

The Holy Grove of St Bogwulf stands empty, the last shreds of mist melting in the sun's strengthening rays.

Afar off, a knell is rung softly.

The Incense Bloke burns the big pan of myrrh, filling the grove with a sorrowful essence of mourning and grieving.

A procession enters the grove - it is one half of the Beaker Folk, dressed as house carls.

Archdruid: There they are, Normans!  Get them!

Aldoue of Brittany: Who are you calling a Norman?

Archdruid: Breton low life!  Charge anyway!

The other half of the Beaker Folk tear into the grove, dressed as Normans (and one stroppy Breton)

Blows are exchanged with authentic replica weapons (rolled up newspapers) 

The Norman crossbowmen put in a withering barrage of Nerf darts.

The Saxons are driven from the field.

Albert Steptoe: 'Arold?

Harold: Not now, Farther. I have something in my eye.

Archdruid: And so the last successful invasion of England took place.

Hnaef: Apart from when the Dutch invaded.

Archdruid: The Dutch? Oh yeah, right.

Nigel Farage: And the Belgians.

Archdruid: Now you're just making it up.

Hymn: War (What is it good for?) (E. Starr - to "Stanford" in A)

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Those 10 Things You Didn't Know About Halloween

Ah, it comes earlier every year, doesn't it? Already, it seems, the shops are full of pumpkins and the screams of the damned, and we know Halloween is nearly upon us.

But few know the true history of Halloween. What are those secrets of Halloween that have been forgotten?

1. Halloween was invented by the ancient Aztecs. Every 31 October they would kick their enemies' heads around their cities and light lamps in the skulls of revered ancestors. In later years these traditions were replaced by footballs and pumpkins respectively.

2. The Catholic Church, having persuaded the Aztecs to stop being such heathens by killing them all, brought the use of punkies and footballs back to Europe, where they spread alongside tobacco. Although newsagents had to stop selling pumpkins in packs of 20 as the shelves kept collapsing.

3. When modern children have a kick-about or carve a punkie, they therefore have no idea that they are metaphorically booting that big lad in Year 7's head around, or making a traditional use of Aunt Sophie's cranium. In this way the evil ways of the past are unknowingly carried into our children's lives in the guise of innocent games.

4. Bobbing for apples is a recreation of the ancient Babylonian method of execution, that involved shoving the criminal's head into a bucket of water and then throwing apples at his head. It was a slow death, and one that got a lot of water on the carpet.

5. On Halloween this year the spirits will walk from midnight until dawn. Except in Surrey where, due to the ongoing dispute between Southern Rail and the RMT, they've been drafted in to run a skeleton service.

6. "Trick or Treat" is a degraded folk memory of the invasion of Celtic  Britain by the Saxons. The blond-haired invaders would go from house to house demanding mead and other delicacies. And then burn the Celts' houses down anyway.

7. The equivalent of the foolish rozzer burnt in a Wicker Man at Mayday is called the "Trump". The "Trump" is selected as the most implausible and aggressive boor in the village. He is made to stand on the village green telling lies until, as his life force is sucked out and his body becomes transparent, everyone can see through him. In Mexico he retains his ancient Catholic title, "Murifex Maximus."

8. Skeleton staff, geddit.

9. When organising a "Light Party" some liberal churches may hold them on 1 November, so the kids can celebrate Halloween as well.

10. This year's most popular Halloween masks are Seumas Milne and the formerly disgraced former former minister, Liam Fox. Don't have nightmares.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Litany for Samsung Note 7 Users

Samsung Note 7 Users: Woe is me. For I am an user of an exploding mobile.

Samsung: The new ones are safe!

A new Samsung 7 explodes, igniting the tea lights stand.

Apple Users: We are the smug. We spent a fortune and sold our children into slavery to buy iPhones and now we have priceless objects of desire that explode not, neither do they set fire to the kitchen like unto a tumble dryer.

Archdruid: Is that your alarm going off?

Apple User: Yea. Behold the latest update hath messed with the calendar function....

A Samsung 7 user spontaneously combusts

Samsung 7 Users: What can we do? Without constant access to Facebook the people perish.
Bereft we walk in darkness
Our eyes see only the real world.
We walk in a land of real, fleshy human beings
We have to meet potential partners by talking to people and having common interests.
We have to make conversation with  our families
and make small talk even in pubs.
We are confronted with people who don't agree with our politics
and have to go all through the night watches without signing some virtue-signalling petition.
And behold Bake Off is really boring without a running commentary on Twitter.
How long?
Will this endure forever
or shall we just buy another phone?

Archdruid: Hang on, is Burton speaking in tongues?

All: No. He's just trying to pronounce "Huawei."

Monday, 10 October 2016

St Kirsty's Night: Trump to a T

Now as far as I'm aware, Kirsty MacColl never met Donald Trump.

Which is odd. Because she wrote a song all about him.

My oh my, you're such a big boy.... I assume the request for a "great big hand" is ironic.

St Kirsty's Day

To celebrate St Kirsty's Day this year we will feature this fantastic video. Which I was totally unaware of.

Funny, ironic - Terry really is such a great guy, you know. And she dances like a young woman in 1983. Badly, in other words.


God bless you, Kirsty. I hope the fish are flying where you are. And England are still beating Colombia.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

One Came Back

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
When I was very young I caught the skin disease impetigo. And let's face it there's nothing worse than an illness you can't spell. It was itchy, and it spread into every scratch and graze on your body. And eight year olds get lots of scratches. And they treated it by treating all affected areas with gentian violet. Which meant a considerable part of me was purple.

If you got impetigo - which is annoying but not often serious - in Jesus's time you probably had more serious problems. And not just impetigo but probably ringworm or psoriasis as well. You would be called a "leper". To be a leper was to be an outcast. Leviticus 13 laid down the law:
The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his sore is on his head. “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
The priest declared the leper unclean, and it was the priests' job to declare lepers clean again. But they had to stay away - so they wandered out in the country asking for assistance.

When Jesus heals the lepers, he's not just making them better in a physical way. He's also restoring their place in society. They can go to the priests now. They can be called " clean". They can go to worship. They can see their families. Their whole lives are restored.

A massive turnaround in their lives. And they run off to enjoy it.

All except one. The one who turns round, comes back, and says thanks. And that one is a Samaritan, one who the Jews thought as unclean as a leper. In Harry Potter terms, a mudblood - not actually Jewish, but having the same God.

He comes back to the Jewish rabbi who has healed him - and says thanks.

So some questions:

Did the Samaritan come back because he'd been doubly excluded - and therefore doubly blessed by Jesus?

What does this do to our ideas of the right and wrong people - whom we like to see worshipping with us, and whom we don't?

What does it tell us when churches so often line up with the powerful and not the excluded? Are we called to the marginalized or to power?

What further blessing was it that the Jewish lepers missed out on, because they never said thanks?

And if Jesus blesssd the Samaritan leper because he came back and said thanks for being healed: how much more should we give thanks, to the one who died to heal the divison between God and human beings, and through his resurrection lifts us up to heaven?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Trump That

Evangelical leaders in the States  (though not all of them) continue to support the three-times-married, serial adulterer, self-confessed sexual assaulter Donald Trump.

I'm sure that, given this is all about policies not character, they'd support him just as much if he were gay?

Friday, 7 October 2016

Suspension of Godwin's Law

I am announcing the immediate suspension of Godwin's Law within the bounds of the community.

Not to put too fine a point on it, there's no good  having Godwin's law when everything I say is compared to what the Nazis would have done. Although I find it hard to believe, frankly, that they would have goose-stepped into the Moot House this morning for Pouring out of Beakers. In these shoes? I don't think so.

In other news, the fracas in the bar last night. Yes, a few Beaker People did get a bit hurt with all the pebbles and tea lights that were thrown away. But it was just the kind of thing that happens when people with strong views on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 13 disagree.

Meanwhile we continue under new leadership, which is remarkably exactly the same as the old leadership.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Ceremonial Virtue Signalling

Archdruid: Things are so bad, aren't they?

All: I've signed a petition.

Archdruid: Would you do things like that?

All: Nope. I've signed a petition.

Archdruid: And that is shocking.

All: Yep. But we've shared a post by George Takei.

Archdruid: Thank goodness. We're the good guys then?

All: Yep. It's just all the rest.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

St Francis' Day Barbecue

Reminder to all Beaker Folk that at 10 am we will be celebrating the Apostle to Our Dumb Chums with our All Things Bright and Beautiful service. In which we remember that God created all animals, and they share in the universal song of praise.

Then our St Francis Day Barbecue Lunch. We've got the usual hamburgers, lamb chops and chicken skewers but also, now the shooting season is open, Hnaef will be showing us a new pheasant speciality . There will be a quiche option for the ovo-lacto-vegetarians. And for the vegans there's some tomatoes.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

All Purpose Pet Service Liturgy

At this time of year, many churches celebrate a "Pet Service" to celebrate the feast of that famous saint and animal lover, Dawn French. This liturgy brings together the Pet Services of many traditions in an ecumenical "melange". Like HP Sauce. Which goes so nicely with many forms of meat.


Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Confession

Archdruid: We acknowledge that we have let our furry and scaly friends down. And we are feeling...

Dogs: Ruff!

Archdruid: We have eaten many of our dumb little friends and we know that since, intellectually speaking, there ain't much between a cat and a cow, we're probably getting a bit hypocritical at this point...

Peta: Too right!  Meat is Murder!

Archdruid: And Milk is Manslaughter. For though we do not consume an actual animal, yet merely in drinking milk we are subsidising the price of veal and the contents of meat pies...

Bloke in Dodgy Ancient Middle Eastern Dress: Blessed are the cheesemakers.

All: NO MONTY PYTHON!

At this point the terriers may notice that there are hamsters on the premises.

Archdruid: And so I shall lay on the ground and eat leeks and think of the Good Life with Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall.....

Men of a Certain Age: Ah! Felicity Kendall!

Archdruid: .....and will eat meat no more. Except maybe some nice rabbit pie.

Hnaef: Flopsy! Put your paws over your ears!

Archdruid: As St Francis might have said, "Do you want fries with that?"

All: Because he was a friar fryer.

Archdruid: Can we please try and mention animals without remembering that they're made of meat?

Peruvian Ecumenical Guests: Pass that guinea pig Eileen. Hnaef's just got the barbecue going!

HYMN: If I were an Octupus (I'd taste quite nice in a Portugese dish involving some spicy herbs).

Archdruid: Go in fleece

Sheep: Baah!