Saturday 27 March 2010

Authentic Earth Hour Worship

OK, it was a bad diary clash when all was said and done.

I said we'd celebrate Earth Hour in the Moot House, with an hour-long meditation on the darkness.  That meant, after much nagging, that even the lights were switched off in the Archdruidical Suite.

But Hnaef had agreed, after even more nagging, that Milton Ernest was going to be allowed to organise an authentic Celtic worship evening. I had real reservations, but you know how I am - once I'd heard that the authentic Celtic worship evening was going to include Taizé chant and  Tibetan Prayer Bells I was in.  That's authentic enough for me.  And of course, the Celts were known for their concern for the environment, and for switching off all electrical appliances in the evenings.

Now Hnaef and I had a chat about the lighting arrangements.  We'd worked out that by the time you've burnt a tea light, you've actually consumed more of the earth's resources and contributed to more CO2 than if you'd flown a polar bear in specially to switch on the Oxford Street Christmas lights.  So they were ruled out for the hour.  We agreed that, given Taizé chant is fairly simple and the band wasn't needed, we'd risk it and go for a complete hour's worship in the dark.  A kind of early Tenebrae, but without the sad bits.

So with fifty Beaker Folk sat quietly on their bean bags, enjoying the authentic Celtic flavour of a song from France sang in Latin, it was all going remarkable well.  Even the Tibetan Prayer Bells were being bashed in time.

And then we found out about the Liturgical Dance.

Again, I'm not finding fault with the authenticity here.  I'm sure that in 6th century Staffa, Mull or Islay, Celtic French Latin worship with Tibetan Prayer Bells was always accompanied by four of the less slender worshippers equipped with ribbons and a beach ball and performing a liturgical polka.  You can see how that would have appealed to St Columbanus or St Rab or whoever.  But in the dark, in a tightly-packed Moot House, it caused utter chaos.

So Hnaef has bruises on various parts of his body after young Mabelline stamped on him.  I'd like to remind those worshippers who complained about Hnaef's language, that he didn't actually utter any blasphemies - only obscenties.  And I'm pretty sure some of those were actually technical medical terms for the places that Mabelline had stood on.

And the Beach Ball put out the Eternal Flame, which was the only light source we had for the emergency evacuation.  Which explains why, in the darkness and chaos that followed, Milton ended up with a bruise that, if looked at closely, does appear to resemble the outline of a Slazenger V400 cricket bat.  Odd that.  I can only assume that someone must have lashed out with one in Milton's general direction.  Another good reason for wearing liturgical hi-viz - it makes it easier to pick the worship leader out, even in poor light conditions.

And then Young Keith tells me that what he was trying to do, was hit the button to put on the emergency lighting.  As I say, that's what he tells me he was trying to do.  Which is odd. Because the button for the emergency lighting is down by the Worship Focus table and you just have to press it.  It's the big button.  The glowing green one.  The one that was the only bit of light in the entire community.  The light that literally shone, albeit gently, in the darkness.  Whereas to switch on the sprinkler system when there's not a fire, one would have to be by the North-East door, and in possession of the correct key.  Maybe at Earth Hour, all the spare electric needs somewhere to go and cross-circuited the system?

So now we had half a hundred Beaker Folk, in a state of panic, in the darkness, soaking wet, and receiving random bruises from the still-prancing nymphs of the Celtic Polka Dance society.  It's not a great way to finish an evening's worship.  But still, we need to consider that it sounds like a pretty good summary of the breakdown of the Roman Empire, which was happening at around about the same time on the same continent - and also in Latin.

So I guess that all in all we've had a fairly authentic evening's worship.


  1. Archdruid, you remain a constant source of liturgical inspiration.

    Talking of Taize, how many tents do you reckon you could fit into that field?

  2. What, our field or the one at Taize?

  3. Yours! All those tea-lights seem to attract campers ......

  4. I guess that's the trouble with Citronella.
    On the bright side, it keeps the mozzies away in the summer. If it ever arrives.

  5. Thank you Archdruid, I needed a good laugh, and am now suitably inspried to devise an authentic act of worship that will involve stones and tea lights and Coldplay!The trouble is I am left wondering authentic what....

  6. Sally

    Perhaps you could invite Coldplay round to play live, then throw the stones and Tea Lights at them?


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