In my old barbers, as I sat in the barber’s chair looking at my reflection in the mirror, there was a small notice pinned to the top right corner, which read something like this:
“Everyone brings joy to this shop some when they enter… others when they leave…”
On Wednesday mornings during my Vestry hour, I am always delighted when people pop in to see me about this and that. Sometimes I can have a succession of folk, and I imagine that’s what it must be like for a GP seeing one patient after another during surgery hours. When the door opens you never know who will walk in, why they are there, and how they will be when they walk out at the end. At other times, no one wishes to see me that day, and I sit quietly.
Recently someone came to see me and to my great surprise they had something they wanted to show me and offer to the church. I was intrigued. As the parishioner carefully lifted an object from their large plastic bag – in a moment reminiscent of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ I instantly recognised a large Communion flagon. In a recent loft clearance the family had found the flagon which had belonged to their mother who had received it when the old Cambridge Street Church had closed. So the story goes, when Cambridge Street was closing, members were given an opportunity to keep a bit of the ‘old church’. Their mother had opted for the flagon. “Would you like it, Mr. Taylor?” I hope my face matched my inner joy – “of course” I said, “thank you.”
Next year will be the 50th Anniversary of the union of Cambridge Street and Springfield Churches, so to have received this flagon as a gift on your behalf was for me a very special moment. It reminds me that in the Christian faith, we never stand alone; we always stand in the footsteps and faith of others who have gone before us. The faith we hold dear, is never exclusively ours, it is something to be given and received, to be shared with others.
As we approach our own Communion ‘season’ as we used to say in our Presbyterian tradition, I have been reminded by a parishioner’s generosity that:
“Everyone brings joy to the Vestry some when they enter… others when they leave…”