Never a fan of the jigsaw, I prefer puzzles to be three (or four) dimensional. Wooden polyhedrons, gyrating shapes, kaleidoscopes, New Testament essays and ‘blank slate’ liturgies all fit the bill.
Given the time of year, you can guess it’s the last I’ve been working on.
Our Advent Carol Service is the ‘biggest’ liturgy of the year. Oh, all right — Christmas Eve and the Easter Vigil might technically win out, but I tend to think that the major feast need to unfold with quiet dignity and that means less puzzle solving for me.
This year, the Carol Service has felt especially tricky because at some point along the line, I realised that the ‘in house’ poems and prose that were being written by members of the congregation were so good that I should let them stand unsupported. So, I put away all my resource files, stopped trawling books of poetry and kept checking my in-box.
The wealth of writing talent in these little congregations is amazing: two poets, two prose writers, all offering a distinct voice and willing to write on demand.
This is alongside an equally impressive wealth of in-house musical talent which will be supplemented this year by an octet the organist conducts.
For weeks now, I have been staring at some lovely looking pieces of the puzzle. But I couldn’t quite see the goal. Three things would fit together in one corner and another five would link elsewhere on the floor, but in-between? nothing but a nervous gap.
Then today it all changed. I re-read two of the prose passages and realised they were beginning and end. I noticed the phrase written by a former member of the Rothesay congregation that led perfectly to one of the ‘where shall I put it’ bits of music. A Dunoon poem that had been sitting comfortably with its Brandine friend suddenly went for a walk and provided a transition between sections. And it all started to happen.
When I was ten, one of my classmates was very good at solving the Rubik’s cube. He worked fast, and you couldn’t see what was happening, but you could always tell when he was getting close because the atmosphere in the room shifted.
It was like that, Spirit hovering and nudging; poems, prose and music suddenly clicking into place.
So now, we have entered a new phase of nervousness. Can I find the right voices? Will it live on the day?
Kelvin recently quoted Wilde’s ‘terrible suspence’. It is like that. What fun.