Each evening, when I go to lock up the church, I check the visitor’s book; and there is always a thrill when in the half-light I see another line is full.  Today’s was inscribed in bold neat strokes:

N.N.   Edinburgh.   A peaceful time for me.

We have a visitor’s book and a prayer tree.  The prayer tree is almost always anguished.  In my head, I think of it as the cancer tree.  I sense pain there, and the panicked prayers of desperation.  But in the visitor’s book, page after page shows me that people come to be with God.

If we did nothing else at St Mary’s but keep the church doors open I think we would be serving the community well.

I walk away each evening feeling slightly guilty:
guilty because I never write in visitor’s books
guilty because all my good intentions for words of welcome and prayer prompts and resources for our visitors still have not come to fruition.  But perhaps that doesn’t matter.  It’s not resources they come for, but time to be without distraction or demands.

Today while our visitor sought peace, I have sought angels’ wings. It’s the risk of ordination:  one falls in love with Michaelmas.

In my case, the angels took flesh in the murals at St Ninian’s, Pollokshields.  I still miss them.

angel 400_edited-1

1 thought on “visitors”

  1. Ah, it is a hard to thing to teach that prayer can be other than intercession. I do wish that the prayers of the laity in the church were not so directed to intercession. The liturgy does not mean to teach that all ordinary Christians offer from the body of the church is intercession, but it is what it does. I am very bad at intercessions.

    And, ah angels – they came real for me as I invented an unconventional angel struggling to assert his sense of awe against the sense of certainty which turned out to be the Devil. But he had leather wings, and painted toe nails.

    I started him to comfort a friend who was unhappy at his suffering, but he took on a whole life of his own and became my patron.

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