Friday, April 10, 2009
Good Friday today
Well. I made it to the service at my old church: Ann St Presbyterian. Good Friday is a major religious occasion for Christians in Australia, with Easter Sunday secondary. I gather that it is the other way around in some countries. So I got up at 8am and managed to be at the 9am commencement of the service with time to spare. The church is only 10 minutes drive from where I live so that helps. Anne came along too as it happens to be her old church too. It was a communion service so went on a bit longer than usual. It felt good to be back among the sort of people "from whence I sprang". And it was good to hear a Scottish accent from the pulpit too. I feel sorry for Leftists who don't appreciate such things. It must be very unpleasant to be angry with the world about you all the time. I certainly don't think the world is perfect but I don't hate it. I just enjoy getting on with my own life in my own way.
The congregation was mostly Caucasian with only a few Asians present. The Koreans who used to attend have now built their own church. The pews at Ann St were still pretty full though. The minister, Archie McNicol, is one of the old school who is not afraid to mention "The machinations of the Devil" and such things so it is real religion that gets preached there and not conventional bromides. I noticed that the long prayer included a supplication for the conversion of the Jews. Traditional of course. But I would have been happier if it had also included a prayer for the safety of the Jews.
The reading was from John Chapter 19 and I was struck by the great lengths Pilate went to NOT to crucify Jesus, but the Pharisees were relentless and finally accused him of disloyalty to Caesar -- which Pilate of course could not risk. Many of the claimants on righteousness today -- Warmists, Leftists, obesity warriors etc. -- are just as nasty and hostile in my view.
The service ended with the hymn "Rugged Cross" -- one of my top favourites.
There is occasionally a furore when secularists or Anglicans (but I repeat myself) remove the crucifix from some church or chapel. We had an example of that very recently in Australia. They would be perplexed how to attack Ann St. Presbyterian, though -- because it has neither cross nor crucifix in it. That is because it is an old "Wee Free" (Free Church of Scotland) church and its Scottish fundamentalist builders weren't going to have any "graven images" in it -- and CERTAINLY no "idolatry". With all the polished wood in it, the interior is still a beautiful one, though. See below. I feel immensely at home there.
A small addendum
The former Governor of Queensland, Quentin Bryce, was a supporter of the Ann St. church and it appears that the present Governor, Penny Wensley, has stepped into her shoes in that respect too. I believe I saw Her Excellency at the service. She is certainly going to be present at the Anzac Day service at Ann St., just ahead. Anzac day is Australia's most solemn day of commemoration. Penelope Wensley is a Queensland-born career diplomat so her appointment as Governor is appropriate.
Unlike the USA, a Governor in Australia is an appointed office rather than an elected one. The governor represents and inherits the powers of the Monarch, which are large, though they are very rarely exercised. I am sure that many Americans wish at times that there was someone who could dismiss their government if it got too uppity. At both the State and the Federal level, that power does exist in Australia. Monarchy has its advantages.