Its Sunday and the church bells are ringing. Well they are if you live near a cathedral or church which still tolls the bell.
The start to the week, this day of the sun. A time for reflection on the week past, the week ahead.
Here's two reflections of Sundays past:
The Old Methodist Hall
I went looking for the old Methodist Hall. The one with the stage filled with boys and girls. The one where Eden’s apple could inflame; Jonah being washed by a whale; no rickety old ladder for Jacob’s climb. In my Father's house are many mansions. As a child, I knew mansions of the doomed, valleys of the shadows of death. I could recite the Psalms, and knew the songs of my father's religion. Give me that old time religion. It was good enough for my grandfather. It was good enough for my mother. It was good enough for my brother. No handclapping or dancing in the Methodist Hall, only Sunday School, catechism, the young layman's guitar - a modern hook for boys and girls. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits. I learnt the Gospel, according Matthew; recited all the names of books of the bible. I would to go to Galilee and stand on that shore. I would walk my feet sore in the bosom of Abraham, if I could see his face. If I could see his face. Jesus was a mystery man who never had a face. I remember his soft hands, ginger beard, long flowing robe. He walked amongst thieves, murderers, tossed gamblers from a sacred temple. Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so. I went looking for the Methodist Hall, couldn't find that old time religion. It was late Sunday, no tolling bell, no organ, only a wagtail on a missing spire. Church supplanted with a section of shops. Old choristers and angels held in the body of wayward lotions, massage oils. Some keep the Sabbath in surplice; I just wear my wings, and instead of tolling the bell for church, our little sexton sings, wrote Dickinson. Gran used to say, "God lives behind our eyes, and all they see." I went looking for that old Methodist Hall, and found that little girl, still down on her knees.
My father strode briskly to church every Sunday
psalm book in hand, money for the collection plate
securely licked into a printed offering envelope.
My mother and I in matching straw hats
short white gloves and little handbags followed.
His was a family tradition of ministers and missionaries
where children and wives walked behind in duck formation.
I have photos of them all in hats sweeping along
the Presbyterian streets of Camberwell
not a smile between them.