Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood


Just when we were told that children don't read books any more, along came Harry Potter. Potter paperbacks are now in great demand, children's libraries have waiting lists and Christmas will be another bumper book season for kids. And why? It's the wonder of it all. Through her writing, J K Rowling has the capacity to hoist her readers into a wonderland. Now you can hop on to Harry's broomstick and he'll take you on a wonderful journey of discovery. He can fulfil your deepest desires.

We all need wonder in our lives. Some find it in the Narnia books of C S Lewis, some fly off with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, while others dream of riches untold in Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Surely we should find it in the worship of the Church? Sadly, this is rarely so.

Have we forgotten that worship puts us directly in touch with God? Are we no longer aware that, as we pray, we are sharing our thoughts with God? It's amazing that many times a service in church resembles a rather dry classroom lesson. Far too often everything has to be explained in case we miss something instead of allowing us to be carried along on a transport of delight. Gone is the mystery, the wonder. In has come the ordinary, the home-spun, the level playing field. We are told that no one understands the old Prayer Book any more. Nobody ever did! That was part of the wonder.

In the 19th Century, the Tractarian or High Church Movement really took off in the East End of London and poorer parts of our cities when people's lives were dull and hopeless. Worship in the church brought them colour, ceremony and a glimpse of Heaven. In short, wonder.

One of the finest seasons of the Church's year is Advent with its majestic music and colourful ceremony. No need to explain. It speaks for itself. Durham Cathedral becomes so crowded on Advent Sunday that the processions and carols have to be performed twice to accommodate all who wish to come. …

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