Wednesday 23 March 2011

Acts of the Flower Arrangers

In all I watched nearly five minutes of "The Bible's Buried Secrets" last night. So maybe I'm not in any position to start making comments about the authenticity of certain texts. But I was wondering whether there's a bit missing out between Acts 1 and 2?

I've always thought it significant that, after the Ascension, the early Church got straight down to some serious admin. Counting the disciples and discovering that they had - like Dudley Moore's Mr Spigot - "one too few", they resolved immediately to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting, and the lot fell on Matthias. Who promptly disappears from Scriptural sight.

But also missing is the following four hours of the EGM. In which the Readers demanded the right to blue scarves, and the Pastoral Assistants were licensed and granted little badges. And the Flower Arrangers said it was all very well making lists of gifts, but surely Flower Arranging was an absolute must in a real church? And could they have a badge. But a proper badge reflecting their worth - not one like the pastoral assistants. Or maybe a hat. They liked hats.

And the wardens said they'd like a couple of nice long sticks, to keep order, and the stewards agreed to wear suits - to prove they belonged in the 20th century - and the sidespeople said could they have little sticks, a bit like the wardens?

And then the Bell-ringers asked why they weren't having lots drawn for who could fill the missing Bell-ringing slot. And St Peter tried to explain that it was because they didn't have bell towers - whatever they were. And the bell ringers said that was it, they'd go off and drink instead of ringing bells on Sunday mornings, and St Peter said that would only bring the drinking forward by ten minutes and why didn't they ever show up at the temple for services? As far as he could tell they just rang a couple of hand bells and then headed for the Pharisee's Head.

And then somebody said could they please have a flying apostle, just in case Junia was ever ordained. And St Peter said what did "ordained" mean and why did they think she might one day be a "bishop" - whatever that was? And he was told that they just wanted to be on the safe side.

And then the music group, consisting of (in the front) the singers, (behind them) the musicians and then the girls with the tambourines demanded to know what Peter and his mates were doing, mucking around with the traditional psalms and writing all this new stuff about Jesus. And Peter told them he was just trying to drag the church into the 1st century, and they'd have to get used to it.

And then the Vicarage Garden maintenance group asked what was a vicarage? And if nobody could explain that to them, how were they going to maintain the garden? And they quite liked the hat of office they got to wear, but some of them were also in the Jumble Sale Organisation Group, and that had a hat of office as well, and one or two of them also helped out with the flowers occasionally, and they found it was quite hard to wear two or three hats.

And then St Peter lost his rag, and said it was quite clear. There were apostles, but they were just some among the people that loved God and believed in Jesus and were filled with the Spirit and there was really no need for any extra roles - surely they'd just serve God out of love? And Stephen said that was all very well, but where did that leave him? And was it his left or right shoulder he was supposed to wear his stole over? Only there'd never been a deacon before and he didn't have much of a precedent to work with. And he was looking forward to being priested - whatever that was - in 12 months' time as then he could wear a chasuble - whatever that was. And Peter told him he wouldn't bother checking out the patterns just yet.

So, on reflection, I can see why it all got cut. They listened to the apostles' words, and they broke bread, and they shared their possessions. It all seems too good to be true, somehow.


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