Recently I have been attending Communion at the local Anglican church in Hilton. The experience has been wonderful in many ways, frustrating in a few. Naturally there are the Mysteries involved and the ritual (sort of only medium-low Church, but there you go). But there is also the community and the people, who have reminded me about spiritual and religious commitment.
Now there are virtually no ‘culturally Anglican’ folk left in Australia. Many Catholics and Orthodox Christians still attend on a Sunday morning because ‘it’s just what you do’. The Anglican Church in Australia however is so denuded, Christianity so removed from the cultural norm, that most Anglicans have made conscious decisions to go to Church. These are people, mostly elderly, who really find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Over the last couple of months they have risen in literally freezing conditions (which is hard in Perth ‘cos we are not used to it and our buildings not designed for the cold). Moving through the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other aliments they head over to a cold, cold church building to sit on plastic chairs. After the service they are full of warmth and verve. During the week they help each other and engage in many social service activities, giving much of their time and money to assist those less fortunate than themselves.
Their commitment to their practice and their service is solid and palpable. I have found myself touched deeply. And it is not in the way C.S. Lewis wrote about being honoured to worship among simple, honest people with dirt on their boots. I expect that if I scratched below the surface of the veneer of coffee conversations about the weather and family I would find many deep spiritual experiences and reflections on the mysteries. Their spiritual determination and commitment certainly outshines many modern magical student who wants it all on a plate, right now, preferably with a Facebook link. I wish the students in my magical courses (when I run them) were half as committed and half as mature. Thanks St Edwards’ folk for this humble reminder 🙂