Aint No Sinner
Fontmell (stream by a bare hill)Magna has been around since the ninth century. It’s the kind of thatched village with community which brings tears to some eyes. There is a lively annual fete, a thriving shop, a living church, and people generally know and look out for each other.
It was to this North Dorset village last Sunday I went with my dear friend,Fangen to St Andrews, a Norman church radically modernised in 1860 to celebrate the family service. A church which among other features celebrates Phillip Salkeld who died winning his VC and saving others in the Indian Mutiny. Phillip of course was the rector’s son.
Now previously I had always felt that although the Church of England was not the chosen one it did come highly recommended. After the service I was not so sure.
The Rev Jeff Waring was standing in until they got a permanent vicar. A jolly North country chap he set the scene by wearing only a dog collar to differentiate himself. No fuddy duddy robes for Jeff. He was out to show that in God’s house, for all its rooms. we are all pals. And why not.
First he apologised, Although this was a family service there were no children present and the thirty or so congregation would have to play at being juniors. We found out why.
We were all handed pieces of paper on which was written Passport-To the Kingdom of Heaven. I kid you not, mine is now in a safe place. We had to draw ourselves and write our physical details on the outside. But do they matter, exhorted the jolly Rev. I had given up but my dear wife played along. He went on.No of course they don’t its whats inside that counts. Hallelujah
We turned over and those taking part in this absurd group therapy duly wrote down three good and three bad points. Don’t worry said beaming Jeff ,God doesnt see you he just sees his Son. With that we are all handed another piece of paper to stick into our passport.
This sticker read “This is the Grace of God VISA You are my Son, I love you. This is an all inclusive fully guided journey with free entry to the Kingdom of God.” That is, the happy clappy idea of heaven is that its like Disney land without queues .
I looked up hoping for some explanation for this Sunday School madness which could barely have appealed to a six year old. We mumbled through another hymn and then it was time for coffee. This I decided not to take ,as Satan had long since taken my heart,but as I left Jeff, God is my best mate,Waring grabbed my hand and said, God Bless You. As well he might after putting up with such tosh.