After a busy few hours of office work in City Hall, I made an effort to get home early enough to walk in darkness across the fields to Llandaff Cathedral for the six o'clock Solemn Eucharist of All Saints Day. Sitting in choir for the service was uplifting, wafted on clouds of sweet incense. No sermon, just an hour of beautiful meditative worship to crown the busyness of the afternoon, and then walking home, with the mild breeze dropping occasional falling leaves upon me. Simple holy pleasure, with an evening of solitude to follow in which to savour the experience - Clare has gone to Bristol to look after James, as Amanda is hospital.
The Mass was sung by a choir of twenty eight, mostly young people (Darke in F), and there were another forty worshippers present. As a full time cleric, musician or verger, your job is to be there and prepare the celebration for others to join in. It struck me that some, if not most participants had come straight from work, to stop and immerse themselves in the life of the liturgy for this hour before eating, saying hello to the family, catching up on chores. It makes 'lay' and 'professional clerical' spirituality different as offerings of prayer.
If you're wrapped up daily in church affairs, holy things become routine. Rushing into church from work to pray, despite the distraction and fatigue, is an opening to an experience of the holy that can transform the meaning of the day. Now I have a different sort of lifestyle in retirement, I begin to appreciate the difference.