Friday, 16 December 2011

If winter comes....

After one of the warmest autumns on record (the first real frost here was in early December), winter has arrived. This morning we awoke to see the fields on the hills above the village and the cliffs of the Wyndcliffe covered with the first snowfall of the season. The still-flowering geraniums in the hanging baskets and the roses in the border look distinctly sorry for themselves now.

As winter closes in, and Advent is about to gather pace, news today of more friends joining (or about to join) the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. As ever, our prayers go with them, as theirs continue to be said for us who still remain.
Slightly disturbingly, the web is full of reports and comment this morning about the direction and the future of the Ordinariate itself. I will resolutely make no comment; those who are involved directly can best speak about the accuracy, or otherwise, of the reports, and be able to separate information from disinformation. 
Of course, as we know, not everyone, neither Anglican nor Roman Catholic,  wishes Pope Benedict's  project well, and some - on this side of the Tiber ( I can't comment on the other bank),  and certainly on this side of the Severn - would be very glad to be rid of traditional Anglo-Catholicism; frankly they would prefer it to die out altogether than have any future, either where it now is, or transplanted into an at least potentially friendlier climate...

On that subject, it's usually unremarked upon these days (I wonder why?)  how the 'Catholic' legacy of Anglicanism, particularly that of its early to mid- twentieth century heyday, has penetrated so deeply into its liturgies. I was in the congregation at my daughter's school's end-of-term carol service yesterday, and the words of Eric Milner-White's beautiful and remarkable bidding prayer resounded around the ancient building with, I suspect, very few picking up on its theological or ecclesial implications.
Unfortunately, perhaps because in happier times the church housed a religious community, most of my fellow parents seemed to have taken a vow of silence: the singing - of the 'modernised' carols - was barely audible, despite the abbey being pretty full. In partial compensation, the playing of the organ was glorious, the carol service ending with the Widor Toccata
So, is this the future of the Church of England - desperately trying to minister to the embarrassedly indifferent and the completely uninterested, having stripped its message of anything that might have the power to convert?
It seems more and more that many in our rapidly changing western culture have simply lost the capacity for belief and worship. It's winter in more ways than one.
Yet I refuse to end on a pessimistic note; as any residual Christian influence fades away from society in this long-drawn-out twilight of the ages of faith, the opportunity will present itself, perhaps to a smaller and reinvigorated Church, to proclaim again the message of the Word made Flesh.
To put it another way, "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will not be published