Wednesday, 11 June 2008

"It was 15 years ago today, when the band began to play!" (with apologies to Sgt. Pepper)

15 years to the day today that I entered Holy Orders. Coo! So I went off on a mini pilgrimage to the dear Green Place to reminisce and be thankful.

Well, I started as I did 15 years ago with a ride on the Clockwork Orange. This time it was from Buchanan St to Kelvinbridge, then I started out from West Street in my shiny new tonsure neck dog collar shirt, Grandads gold cuff links and the good suit from Marks & Sparks bought for going to Uni back in 85. Pure dead gallus High Church, by the way! I met a UF minister on the train I'd been at Uni in Aberdeen with and when he asked what I was doing these days, I said I was on my way to the Cathedral to be ordained.

The Crime Scene - St Mary's Cathedral

Next stop was the scene of the crime - St Mary's Cathedral. It was shut. Well, 15 years ago they forgot to organise a post service bun fight, so it was kinda appropriate. I wandered around the outside, thinking of the service, my knuckles going white on the rail as we sang the Veni Creator, the sermon which likened the ceremony to something in Largs called the Crowning of the Brisbane Queen! Two friends collapsing with giggles in the clergy seating when they heard that! My fellow deacon's suntan which made him look like Tommy Sheridan. Vivid pictures.

Party Palace

Then I crossed the road, passed the cafe where we'd gone for tea with the Bishop before the service and stopped to view the Usque Beatha in Woodlands Road. The lack of official bun fight meant we decamped there after the ordination. It was a brilliant summer evening, gloriously warm. I was stood outside with a pint of Caley 80 when I observed this wee guy swaying up the road towards the pub. He looked in the bottom door: zillions of dog collars. He came up and looked in the main door: even more zillions of dog collars. He came over to me and uttered the immortal words: "Scuse me pal, is it a Tarts and Vicars party the night?" Priceless! You simply could not have made that one up.

I walked across the Park to the Kelvingrove Museum and thought about the faces that aren't around any more who been there that night. Dad, mums pal Nettie, Donald Nicholson, big Douglas my training Rector. I remembered the times I'd got it right and been so good I thought I was God's gift to the Church. And the times I'd got it so wrong and knew that I wasn't. Tears and joys, tantrums and tiaras. A hell of a ride. Still glad I did it though.

An aide memoire

When I got to the Museum, I hunted out the Salvador Dali Crucifixion. Why the Cooncil have stuck it in that poky corner next to that duct, when it looked so good in St Mungo's Museum up by the Cathedral, I simply do not know. It's lost there. A copy of it was on the altar card at St Ninian's when I was a curate. It just reminds me of what I learned to do and love there. Celebrate God's love with God's people in the beauty of worship that lifts the heart and mind heavenward. And that was my wee pilgrimage.

For these and all his countless mercies may God's holy name be praised. And I can still say that after 15 years in the ministry.

No comments:

Post a Comment