I gratefully add my visit to Little St. Mary's yesterday to my list of worship experiences. Arriving 30 minutes early I joined the clergy preparing themselves for high mass, with three celebrants donning magnificent gold-trimmed robes and others with surplices. My place in the procession was described to me, as were various points of the liturgy that particularly affected when and where I preached. After a short preparation service behind the scenes, incense was lit, the procession began and the ancient service carefully followed through the printed order for high mass in the full church. Not a word was out of place!
I preached for 8 minutes according to Carol! After a service rich in Scripture and prayer, filled with awe and reverence, the warm and friendly congregation gathered for refreshments. One commented that my homily had been very Baptist because I had drawn out issues from each of the four lectionary readings. 'It was very Baptist to stick so close to the readings,' he said. Another member high fived me and said, 'Today you are Father Michael!'
How rich is the Christian family! The contrasts between sharing in liturgy unchanged for hundreds of years and engaging in Baptist worship are many. You can say that again! Yet, there could be no doubting the integrity and care of those taking part, nor the commitment to serve the city - particularly in its care for the homeless. Next Sunday I shall feel more 'at home' at Oundle Baptist but I was so glad to experience this authentic worship yesterday.