Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet 13 December 2020

You’ve probably heard the term, Service of Closure, in the Uniting Church context. It doesn’t relate to catharsis for a traumatic experience – although it might, for some unfortunate people! It’s merely a church liturgy to mark the end of a ministry placement, the counterpoint to the original induction or commissioning. When I left the Wesley Hospital, the then General Manager (now CEO of the Mater, Townsville, small world) said that I was “Always singing or humming”. My chaplain colleagues, particularly our catholic chaplain with whom I shared an office, concurred. So did some of the nurse managers. I’m not sure that it was always a fond memory, it must have got on their nerves sometimes. But here’s the thing: I didn’t know that I was doing it.

Fast forward to the past couple of weeks. Among the new sounds in my implanted left ear (“Oh no, he’s not still going on about his cochlear implant!”) has been a low humming. I identified it a few days ago – it’s me, humming to myself. I was mortified, wondering whether I did it in Coles or the Post Office.

Straight after St Paul has told the Ephesian Christians (chapter 5) that they shouldn’t overdo the Pinot Noir, he encourages them that, instead, they should “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord …” There ya go, I’m following an apostolic injunction. And at my age, I doubt that I’ll stop the habit. Although I might check that I’m not in a Post Office queue. Because, “… always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I acknowledge that my life has been undeservedly smooth compared to many other folk’s, that there are times, even whole lives, when an archangel wouldn’t be able to bring her/himself to give thanks. But I have found that the more I give thanks, the more there seems to be to give thanks for. And if you want to sing along with yourself to help the process, go for it. Perhaps not in Coles.


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