Post by Graham
Recently we attended the final service at a local chapel which had been forced to close its doors because it is no longer sustainable with the small number of people attending on a Sunday. It was a good service, the chapel was full and the singing was excellent. We were pleased to take part in the service as we had fond memories of the place. We ourselves attended services there only spasmodically, but my wife`s father, a real chapel man, frequently went there on a Sunday during the short time he lived with us before his death. In fact his funeral service was held there.
I say we had fond memories of the place, mainly because over the years there had been a succession of very fine people associated with the chapel. We remember with particular fondness the minister who conducted my father-in-law`s burial service, and, before his time, a lovely lay preacher who radiated goodness and did much for the people in the village. And so we went along to the service to pay homage to their memory, if nothing else.
The service itself was well constructed, the prayers were good and some excellent memories of past members were recounted. There was, however, one thing that jarred-the hymns ! Nothing wrong with the tunes (indeed they were sung lustily) but oh dear, the words ! We were constantly drowning in Jesus` blood and wallowing in sin. It brought to mind that the religion of my youth, although I hadn`t realised it at the time, revolved around the three S`s:sin,sacrifice and salvation, and that was about it. Reward in heaven was the ultimate goal, and I thought to myself that, surely, religion must be more than this. The themes of the ultimate brotherhood of man (irrespective of another`a religion), community, the divine spark within us all (not just the saints !), a compassion and love, peace between nations, these were conspicuous by their absence in the hymns. It made me thankful that I had found Unitarianism in my later life and needed to look outward, not inward, if I was to find true satisfaction in religion.
Being Alone with our Thoughts~ Carl Honoré
3 hours ago