St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 27th March 2011
Minding our language……
Many groups of people, be they families, factories or professional bodies, develop their own little language – words and phrases which only they understand – and the Church of England is no exception. I’m all right with the districts, deaneries and dioceses but after all these years, I still don’t know my nave from my narthex.
So I was delighted to hear that the Church of England’s General Synod – there’s another in word! It’s a meeting of church representatives, a sort of parliament – have been talking about making the language of Christenings and wedding services a bit more accessible to people who don’t often come to Church. I will be interested to see what they come up with.
And while I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a few people who will say that, without hellfire and damnation and forsaking and begetting, it just won’t be the same, I think it important to use words and images that people can relate to. That’s what Jesus did all the time; he talked about shepherds, sheep and fishermen, which might sound a bit romantic and unusual to us city types, but they were everyday things to the people of his time, just like Corrie and curry sauce are to us now.
People clustered around Jesus and followed him about because he told good stories, and made them laugh and think, and perhaps, most of all, because he showed them a glimpse of Heaven.
And when people come to Church for a wedding or a Christening, they’re often a bit nervous but we make them feel welcome and included; after all, they’ve come to celebrate and thank God for their love for each other and their joy at the birth of a new baby and those lovely, even Heavenly, feelings can be understood in any language.