The young Deacon whose task it is to supply this morning's address in our Family Service, clearly wants to make his mark. He therefore invites the children of the Sunday Adventurers to join him in acting out The Raising
Please carry on reading, I promise not to come over All Holy on you - and you wouldn't want to miss out on What Happened Next.
For those of you
who may be hazy about the story of Lazarus, the main thing you need to know - or at least this is the impression created by this morning's story-teller - is that Lazarus has been dead for four days and is therefore, shall we say, a trifle smelly. The Sunday
Adventurers all giggle and hold their noses.
Who, queries the Deacon, warming to his tale, should take the part of Lazarus, the Smelly One? Enter, stage left (or, perhaps, left of the altar) our young Rector,
Father Mark. He is, confided the Deacon, just about the smelliest person he knows, on account of the fact that he can never resist the temptation to buy cheap after-shave in Duty Free shops when going on holiday. The congregation titters. The Sunday Adventurers
look shocked; I think some of the very littlest ones are a bit confused between Father Mark and the Almighty. I am assuming that Father Mark and the Deacon must be Good Friends. At least, up until this morning.
young lad is chosen to play the part of Jesus. He looks partly proud and partly terrified at the responsibility. Two little girls are allocated the parts of Mary and Martha. They can't make up their minds who wants to be whom. The Deacon says, hastily, that
it doesn't really matter and calls them both Martha-Mary (or occasionally, for good measure, Mary-Martha.)
Father Mark lies down and is wrapped up in a linen cloth. This is the part of the story, we are reminded,
when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. We are all encouraged to join the children in attempting to rouse Father Mark / Lazarus by shouting at him to "Wake up!" Father Mark is unmoved by the unholy commotion. Next a kind of drum is produced and all the Sunday
Adventurers take turns in banging it hard over Lazarus's inert body, making as much noise as possible. They are clearly enjoying this rather too much.
The story concludes with Jesus gently commanding Lazarus
to arise. Father Mark clambers to his feet thankfully and all the children help to remove the linen cloth. The erst-while Lazarus informs the congregation at large that he was selected to play the role on account of the fact that he was the only one of the
clergy small enough to fit inside the linen cloth. It was absolutely nothing at all to do with his after-shave.
My friend Norma chooses not to attend the monthly Family Service on account of such shenanigans
but I think she has missed a treat this morning. She has also missed enjoying a cupcake decorated with a "Golden Wedding" topper, courtesy of one of the congregation whose Golden Day was yesterday. Though it is possible that Norma is not Always Thinking About
Her Stomach like some we could mention.
Outside in the churchyard, the snowy white blossom hangs heavy on the trees. It is a truly beautiful Spring morning. As Lazarus would surely agree, it's good to be alive
on a day such as this.