I opened the curtains to another dull morning. I had a dehydration headache. I didn't want to get out of bed. Snow was falling like rain. The road was turning white. I thought seriously about going back under the covers and having a morning in bed. Jo brought me a cup of tea. Slowly the headache drained away. I remembered that John Carr was coming to church, so there is a guaranteed good sermon - one that will give me something new to think about. Over breakfast there was more snow. We decided to walk to church. I found my walking boots - still muddy from last weeks walk and banged them together to get the mud off - too late by now to clean them properly. We set out in the snow-rain to a very lightly populated High Street even for a Sunday morning. Arriving at church in plenty of time for Jo's duties, I helped get the Laptop set up and the projection software loaded.
Then I was asked if I was serving at communion. My name was on the rota in pen - not printed like all the others. I'm still not sure if I'd received that notice - but OK, it's not something that I have to prepare for. With 10 minutes to go there was still no bread for communion. The lady who provides it had checked the rota and seen it was 'by extension', so ready blessed bread would be brought by someone else. Except it wasn't 'by extension'. The Bishop's new rules mean that we readers are no longer allowed to deliver communion by extension without some extra training and special permissions for each occurrence. We had therefore asked Revd John Carr to come and he had agreed. The message had not got through to the rest of the system. In talking to various people it seems to have fallen at each possible hurdle. I could have been in the communication chain, but I didn't think I needed to be. Bread was found and communion went ahead. No-one would know anything was different - except the bread was different, so they may have wondered. They will know if they read this of course.
John spoke to us on Colossians and the need for rules. Without rules we would live in Chaos. He gave the example of a taxi in Malta taking him and his wife the wrong way down a one-way street. He survived that journey, but he didn't enjoy it. That's precisely how I felt about the start of the service. God, of course, wants us to enjoy our lives - so he has set some rules in place.
This afternoon I was working on my program (in VB express 2008) to convert the Songs of Fellowship text words into a form that EasiSlides will import. In programming the rules are VERY strict. If you don't follow them nothing works. It is still possible though to follow all the rules but program badly and make the program work. God's rules are not that specific e.g. Colossians 4:6 "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." So they are much harder to follow - but when you get them right things just work so well.