Today we made a personal best in getting up and actually made it to Sunday school on time. J, as ever, was on a slow burn, but managed to draw a picture of a flower (his contribution to the Tree of Life) and even joined in some of the games and songs. The dancing with streamers was great, restful and psychedelic in equal measures. Then we trooped back to church, chaos ensuing as the Little Ones joined the Civil Service.
Despite living in Wycombe now for over ten years, I still have to get to grips with what the Civil Service represents. The front pews are populated by men in tights, strange hats and shoes with big buckles and ladies wearing even stranger hats that may, or may not, have seen better days at Ascot (or Towcester) circa 1970. It has an air of solemnity (or pomposity). This is good as it distinguishes it from the annual Christmas parade put on by the cast of Aladdin, or Babes in the Wood, or whatever the Swan’s seasonal offering is.
Civic services are also long. Very long, if you are surrounded by lots of small children (and faced with the task of containing their exuberance). But there is strangely sometimes a point in the service (which there was today) during which time expands. Without wanting to sound all Julian-of-Norwich-ish, a paradoxical silence descends (silence born of noise and chaos). For a few seconds, watching the patient files for Communion, I catch a moment of perfect calm, before it evaporates in a cacophony of mewling children and rustling hymn sheets.