From the Revd Henry L. Ormerod
Sir, - The Afghanistan service at St Paul's was very well
planned, and extremely appropriate for the occasion. The gulf seems
to be getting ever bigger, however, between such meticulously
ordered acts of worship and the level of religious belief and
understanding of the majority of the people who attend them.
The television cameras roving around the congregation during the
hymns showed that only a small proportion of those present were
singing. I couldn't help feeling, from my armchair at home, that
there was a widespread lack of engagement in the cathedral with the
strong Christian content of the service.
I wondered what the royalty and British aristocracy present
thought of being asked to sing, "All that kills abundant living,
let it from the earth be banned; pride of status, race or
schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan." I wondered what the
Prime Minister and the congregation thought of his being given a
reading beginning with the word "And", a reading that in two places
used the word "which" rather than "who" to denote people.
I also thought that the Archbishop's very good sermon had a
little element of "cheating" in its highly disputable assumption
(well suiting his further remarks) that the Authorised Version was
right in attributing to Jeremiah the authorship of
Maybe, in a few years it will be thought more appropriate for
such an occasion to take the form of a concert in the Albert Hall
rather than a Christian service in St Paul's. Meanwhile, the
presence of large and increasing numbers of unbelievers and people
committed to no religion may need to be taken into account a bit
more when such big national acts of Christian worship are held.
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