Today St. George's Anglican Church celebrated 100 years of serving the community. John Marsh is the Priest at St. George's but today Bishop Michael Ingham, on this special occasion, preached the sermon on St. George.
He began with his usual light hearted good humor saying, "when I was last here I was invited to plant a tree but I've since learned the tree died, so understand now why it's been so long since I've been invited back."
To paraphrase his sermon he began by making the observation that he liked that Anglicans and Catholics have named their churches after saints whereas other Protestant denominations were more likely to name their churches after the places where they existed in the world.
There are different types of saints, he said. These include those that exist and those that didn't….unfortunately for this occasion and church, St. George didn't…..it was the time of chivalry when the knights were intent on being seen as more useful, so St. George was said to be a great dragonslayer and to save damsels in distress. One might then wonder why the church kept him on as a saint, Bishop Michael Ingham continued. In the terms of the psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung, the dragon represents that dark shadow of ourselves and our individual need to slay that archetypal dragon within. In Christian terms this is what Jesus Christ did for the world. So the symbol of the dragonslayer remains with us today.
At this time my little dragon, Gilbert the puppy, began to chew on my fingers and generally let me know that like a true Anglican he'd had enough sermon, even if it was the best sermon in the world. As he began to growl, like a little dragon to enhance the Bishops sermon, I thought we should best go outside where he promptly relieved himself. We were followed shortly after by another gentleman with his 1 year old child. Earlier I'd prided myself on Gilbert's behaving better as he child had wailed at one point during the hymns when I'd most feared my puppy might choose to join in. Outside we smiled sympathetically at each other in our, albeit, minor, modern chivalrous, St. George roles. Two manly men saving the congregations from our personal terrors, wailing puppies and screaming babies..
Later during the Peace, when everyone shake hands and hugs, we were back in the church and Gilbert was fondly greeted especially by the women, who said what a handsome fellow he was. He rather liked this warm and fuzzy church experience.
Later he had a private interview on the lawn with the Bishop who bent down and told him what a "cutie" he was. Thankfully Gilbert was on leash and didn't get a chance to lunge at the hanging bright cross the Bishop wore about his neck and certainly had his attention. Gilbert's parents were impressed that he had a meeting with the Bishop on his first day of church. Gilbert obviously liked him but he would have preferred to stay for the luncheon that was served after.
Vivian Seegers who is part of the clergy at St. George's brought Puka out of her car to join in the after church feast. As we were leaving Puka and Gilbert encountered each other in a sloppy dog fest. Gilbert thought St. George's was that much better a church with such another fine dog attending. Puka lifts his leg and Gilbert finds this 'styling' very impressive.
In the life of dogs this is truly 'high' Anglican.
Laura and I again loved the community spirit of St. George's, a truly beautiful church with real down home friendliness. It's always a joy to hear Bishop Ingham preach as he's world reknowned as most learned men in the Anglican world. His book Mansions of the Spirit is a fine Christian testimonial and a leading reference for the spiritually ecumenical.