Saturday, 30 January 2010

Prayers for Britain and Ireland

Over this weekend I'm trying to dream up a sermon with the title "Mother tongue - foreign land". The excuse for these musings is that the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle invites the world to pray for the countries of Britain and Ireland from tomorrow.
Someone else was originally due to lead worship in the ecumenical centre next week but that fell through, so I found myself with the task of reflecting on my home country, a place I haven't lived in for a nearly a generation. I'll see how it comes along. One of the problems with it is that I recently received or perceived the beginnng to a sermon fully formed, I was really excited by it at the time. Now though I'm having to let go of that idea in order to try to say something perhaps less beautifully perfect but more real. No idea how it will turn out. I want to try and play with the idea of how my home country is totally familiar and yet very much a foreign land to me and use that as a springboard to think more about changing faith, church and ecumenical landscapes ... all set somehow between Babel and Pentecost, coping with life's mess and structure.
Yesterday at lunchtime a few of us reheared the hymns I've chosen - all rather unknown and a little difficult. It made me smile but also surprised me that the tunes and words evoked hobbits and elves for one of my colleagues! Anyway although we shall not have any Scottish or Welsh music, we will have a poem by a Welsh poet (Rowan Williams) and morning prayers throughout the week will be led by a colleague from Scotland and based on the Iona Community's morning prayers. You can find the order of service here.