For an audience of One
So having spent about four or five hours on Monday evening and a further hour or two yesterday planning, trying to be creative, failing, and then settling on a fairly bog standard Common Worship structure, hunting for images and then putting together a Powerpoint file, I led Evening Prayer for the first time in Chapel this evening. As well as my good self and my laptop, I was joined by one of my fellow ordinands who has some responsibility for the evening services and (after a swift text on her mobile) her husband! Together, the three of us said Evening Prayer together.
Of course, you all know that today in the lectionary, we celebrate the Saints and Martyrs of England. I did a straightforward kind of CW: Evening Prayer service but with a focus on the English nation and praying for our nation and praying for the spread of the gospel in England. I did wonder if I had marketed it well. On the noticeboard, I put the usual notice and added ‘Saints and Martyrs of England’. I guess evangelicals don’t tend to “do” saints and martyrs so maybe I’d have been better to say something else.
In one sense, it was a little frustrating to put in that much time for three people (including me) but on the other hand, I didn’t mind it at all. It was actually quite a relief not to have my efforts on display to a crowd and it was a good chance to ‘practice’ in a safe environment with friendly supportive faces. Before we began, I closed my eyes for a moment and had a wry smile between myself and my God.
It went well, I think, although it’s a weird thing for me at the moment whereby it’s still hard to connect with God yourself when you are so focussed on doing a good job of leading others. Maybe that won’t change… I hope it will.