Getting Names Right

With less than a week until the holidays begin for me and the children, I’m beginning to feel the tiredness to which my brain had already given some indication. Within the last month, I’ve managed to call one child the wrong name prior to baptism, fortunately the mother caught me before we did baptise. At a wedding, I announced the same hymn twice. Then as we were to admit new members, I got two of the young mens’ surnames mixed up. That one wasn’t helped by the fact that six people joining were meant to sit in alphabetical order as that was how I had written them down.

I find myself getting annoyed at trying to get things right. Getting names right is particularly important to me, as I know my own frustration at people getting my name wrong.

My first name uses two names to create my one name. For some reason this means people sometimes only call me by the first half and I am not that name. Occasionally I can look rude because if you say that name to me, I don’t respond because I don’t recognise it as my name. There are those who get them the wrong way round, and it sounds quite nice but still not me.

People writing my name also try to complicate it. But to put it simply it is not hyphenated but all one word with a capital letter in the middle, and there is no “e”.

Of course I recognise my own error in writing peoples’ names. I know too many Claires and Alistairs that I have to think about how each is spelt.

However recognising my own frustration with the use of my name makes me realise how much of our personality and identity can be packed into a few letters. It is in those letters that we find ourselves precious to someone.



Insomniacs Anonymous

I’ve said a couple of times over the past year that sleep does not come easily at the moment, however I’ve decided not to worry about it and instead decided to use the time productively. What has eased the concern more is that several of the office bearers in this new place seem to also not sleep particularly well. Even before arriving here, it was not unknown to receive emails from at least one of the elders in the early hours of the morning.

At a recent award ceremony one of the office bearers was sitting opposite me, while the keynote speaker was being introduced. In the introduction we heard how this woman worked all hours, and often was emailing in the early hours of the morning. The office bearer caught my eye, knowing that only that day they had discovered an email from me sent at around 1.30am. But with the smirk, there was the acknowledgement of pot and kettle.

However I wonder about this alien place I’ve come to. Does anyone go to bed before midnight, and sleep for a normal length of time?


The Communion Fly

In what is an attempt to avoid getting on with what I’m really supposed to be doing, I thought I might return briefly to blogging for 10 minutes.   It’s Saturday night, I’m sure you can guess what I’m supposed to be doing…

Last Sunday saw my third celebration of communion in this place.   At some point at one of the previous celebrations, someone had mentioned that every communion a fly puts in its appearance at the Communion Table.   It can only have been someone sitting either on my left or my right on one of these occasions, as I can’t imagine that anyone else would notice this detail given how far away from the table most people are.

The kind helpful person had mentioned that often at communion a fly seems to appear out of nowhere.   Weeks and months go by and no fly is seem within the sanctuary and yet on Communion Sunday it suddenly appeared and hovered near the bread and wine.

The last couple of occasions must have been more tense, as I can’t say I noticed a fly hovering around the table.   Instead I suspect that concentration levels were set up “let’s get to the end” setting, where all that happens is a focus on the process and practice and knowing that the wine must not be knocked over (yes, I have.)   On those kinds of days I notice nothing, although potentially that is most Sundays as once I’ve moved into worship the concentration shuts out many things – although I do notice my own children behaving badly and people suddenly falling or sitting down.

If the Communion fly put in appearance at the first service last week, I can’t say I noticed.

However it was definitely there at the second service, and I found myself having to control the giggles.   Where would it land?   Who would notice?   Was it planning a swim?   What were the consequences of sharing the sacrament with a fly – practically and theologically?

The best moments in church are often those moments when we suddenly relax and forget the pomposity of the liturgy and instead find ourselves engaged in the moment.   I will be forever grateful for those fun moments of being a church community, because suddenly everyone catches the humour and joke of the moment and discovers that sharing faith is fun.   Like singing the “Old Rugged Cross” having only heard the story of the Miners’ Club where someone had got up to sing confidently, and started “On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross..”   Paused… And then finished …”where the deer and the antelope play”.   Or the choir that persuaded their minister to fit some words into the service, and was astounded to find that “broccoli” worked well in the “Time to Talk”, while “antidisestablishmentarianism” wasn’t quite so helpful.