I said i’d not get back again on remembrance stuff – and mostly, this isn’t. Although it is Remembrance Sunday that is the immediate springboard for this particular rumination.
First stop was a spot of ironing this morning and, as wallpaper, one of the Dimbleby’s voice overing the various contingents marching down past the cenotaph. Irritating. Very.
At the end, he explained that this was all about honouring the dead and in no way celebrating militarism. His explanation would have worked better had the preceding hour or so not been focussed almost exclusively on battle honours: on deeds of derring do and on the valiant part played, etc., etc.
What else could he have done? We-ell. An event intended to commemorate the dead might, instead of listing what each regiment achieved as they were announced on to the screen, might have come up with some marker of the size of sacrifice. The such-and-such regiment, who lost 2,000 dead on the first day of the Somme…or whatever.
Why’s that important? Because successful engagements usually end with far fewer casualties inflicted on the victors…which means that the focus of the day was all on good army days…and far less on the bad.
Local beavering (and the very masculine Church militant)
Then on, this afternoon, to the CofE parish church, courtesy of the local Remembrance Parade which the boy’s beaver troop (fnaar!) were marching in.
My observations here fell into two. First off, i was trying to get my head around the fact that the entire edifice was meant to be a religious service.. Sorry: but steeped, as i am, in catholocism, i was having difficulty equating the ritual with anything much to do with worship.
Or maybe it wasn’t meant to be. There was no communion: only a blessing. So prhaps that was what it was intended as.
Too, proceedings felt quite strange: very masculine.
Which is odd, given that a female vicar was leading and the CofE is supposedly a load more woman-friendly. Only the effect was the exact opposite. The catholic church, with all its male hierarchy and anti-abortion views, feels far more accepting of women than this very rigid stuff.
It was posher, certainly. And influencing my thoughts, too, may well have been the dominating presence of a man whose organ was so huge…he had to sit across the aisle from the main pipe work!
Size matters, where organs are concerned, since this allows for much deeper rumbling tonalities, which in turn turned the hymn-singing far maler than the frequently guitar-assisted efforts at my own church.
Too, the choice of highly trad hymns (like “I vow to thee”), with their switching from one proud open chord to the next. The fact that we actually sang the national anthem (eek! In a vhurch?).
The absence of a “sign of peace” at the point where it would have been appropriate.
No. Perhaps this was an extraordinary service and, were i to visit more often i’d get a different sense of the whole.
Still, it feels very alien to me.
As for the non-militaristic bit. I was very happy watching the scouts and beavers and brownies do their bit. All the same, there was something ever so slightly un-churchy about their processing down the aisle “with banners”.
That and the fact that we all exited to another well known hymn tune, arranged in the form of a march.