So I am standing in the news agents scanning the cover of the new Q magazine to see whether it is worth buying – I used to buy it every month but how far it has fallen is before me, in the very edition I have in my hand, as it declares Liam Gallagher the greatest rock front man of all time; come on! Anyway back to the original story... I am standing there, a parish vicar in very plain clothes when a woman comes in and asks when the Maundy Thursday Mass is? No one knows. The Protestants don’t know and the Catholics don’t care. After the spiritual seeker had left the shop assistants’ conversation went on.
“I don’t even go to my own Church.”
“Nah, me either.”
“I never force the children to go. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone that is the main thing, I think.”
Oh I was tempted. I wanted to go up with my Q magazine and lay it on the counter and ask,
“So if all it is about is not hurting anyone then why do we remember this very week that Jesus came to earth to die on a cross and be raised again to life. I mean why would he go to all that bother if all we had to do was just not hurt anyone.”
I didn’t; forgive my lack of evangelical zeal. My mind was on other things. It was not the short comings of my shop keepers that I was most disturbed about but the short comings of a Church, or Churches, that have been so hollow and dead of soul that they would leave these women with such a vacuous view of the vibrancy of Christ! I wanted to fall down on my knees and confess the failure of the Church to have left them so bereft of all that Christ could be for them; the vitality of a God who fills the Universe and somehow mysteriously wants to connect with them in their everyday sorrows and joys.
I found myself walking back to my car an angry follower of Jesus on Holy Week. How could we have hidden the vision? How could we have left the majority of our population missing the subversive revolutionary who entered Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday with a mission in his soul to uproot the way things were to make them the way they should, could and will be, who freed the world from its chains but did so in the most humble of ways before smashing the tombstone and crashing into a post Resurrection world where now by the power of the Spirit weeks away from being unleashed could begin to bring God’s Kingdom on earth the way it is in heaven!
How could these women have been so duped, so badly served, so incredibly let down? That is the question for this minister this Easter week and for the Church he has been asked to shepherd. Forgive us Lord! Forgive us public! Let us start repenting and putting it right!