Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Community Communing

St. Patrick's Dalkey
St. Patrick's in Dalkey was less than half full this morning. You'd imagine that there'd be a bigger turnout on the most important liturgical day of the year. However I gather a number of the local Protestant community, more in touch perhaps with their pagan side, had been up on Killiney Hill earlier to watch the sunrise and had gone home spiritually surfeited for their bacon and eggs.

The regular vicar has stood down prematurely (a bit like the Pope) and so there was a stand-in called Kingsley Long.  A new one will be instituted shortly.  He was an amiable old buffer, comfortable with the gig. After various hymns and prayers he launched into a sermon based on, of all things, James Cameron's film Titanic. The gist of it was that it was safer to rely on Christ than the White Star Line.  A rather prosaic conceit I felt.  It being Easter Sunday there was a lot of Alleluias been thrown about. However the hymns seemed not to scan so well - though the sentiments were fine.  No crowd pleasers like Christmas.  I find it hard to concentrate at these events because I'm monitoring the state of the people around with whom I'll have to share the sign of peace.  Sniffers plying bedraggled tissues are especially feared. There is a bit of mumbo-jumbo at the end around the communion ceremony (and alarming casualness about a shared chalice) but it all felt worthy and secular to me.  Decent folk singing heartily.  I am not spiritually impacted.

The congregation are all solid burghers: middle-aged, middle-class and racially homogeneous. I was surprised at how dressed down most were - lots of jeans and ne'er an Easter bonnet in sight. The church was immaculate with beautiful fresh flowers and tasteful shrubbery.  And afterwards the milling about and the exchanging of pleasantries.  A community communing.