This post and all others have been moved to this sites new home on www.peterneill.eu
This one is not so much about what I did, but what I observed and my reaction to such.
The year was about 1993 and I was at a harvest service in my local church. I was there with my mother and my brother. We were sitting right at the front of the church, thus ensuring a prime view of what was about to occur. I always had a reputation for been prone to giggles in a church setting, but nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen in this sleepy little church over the next hour.....
A Franciscan monk was the visiting preacher at the service. Typical to the stereotype the monk was in his eighties, wearing the usual brown gown with the hood and the white rope around the large waistline. About thirty minutes into the service came the time for the sermon. The monk, we’ll call him Ambrose for the purposes of this story, slowly made his way toward the pulpit and slowly ascended the steep spiral staircase towards the top. Once there Ambrose settled himself into position and began to preach.
Thirteen years on I don’t remember the content of the sermon, but I do remember the finish, it was an ending that no sermon has or ever will match...
As Ambrose came to the end of his sermon he concluded in the usual manner by saying a brief prayer and then he began to cross himself like this:
“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy”
He was about to say “Spirit” but as he was about to utter the final word he took a step back in his preparation to descend the spiral staircase. It turned out to be quite a step back, as the next sight that graced my vision was that of an eighty year old monk backward somersaulting down a spiral staircase. The speed at which he descended and the noise which accompanied was unprecedented in the history of preaching. After what seem like an age to my fascinated eyes he pounded to the floor at the bottom of the staircase and with the thud I completely and utterly lost control of myself. While everyone else was rushing to check his pulse I was in fits laughing, so much so I was struggling to even breath.
I know its terrible but I could not help myself. I was promptly sent out of the church by my mother to calm myself down, even though she was having difficulty avoiding loosing control herself!
Thankfully there is a good ending to all of this, in that Ambrose fully recovered from his acrobatics. I'm sure by now he may well have departed this earth, but hopefully not in such a spectacular manner!
I honestly don’t know how anyone can say church is boring.....