Sunday, 30 December 2012

Morningside United Church

Morning worship and celebration of Holy Communion, Sunday 30 December 2012, 11.00am.
Ministers: Revd John Smith, Very Revd Susan Macdonald
Preacher: Lisa Clark

Morningside United is described on its website as “an eco-congregation, trying to work towards protecting and sustaining God's creation”, which made me think I ought to feel guiltier about driving across town to get there. Apparently there are 286 eco-congregations in Scotland, which is all to the good, though there’s nothing you’d notice out of the ordinary.

This was a joint service involving MUC’s Episcopal neighbours from Christ Church, whose rector, the Very Revd Susan Macdonald, conducted the communion service, leaving Revd John Smith with not a lot to do, not even the sermon, which was given by Lisa Clark, a Christian education leader with a clipboard, an off-the-shoulder cardigan and no instinct whatsoever for comedy. The message of her homily, that Jesus is as important in our everyday struggles as he is as the centrepiece of a cosy yuletide, was just begging for the punchline … wait for it … a god is for life, not just for Christmas! But no such luck. Was it this omission that prompted the muttered “waste of time” from the old woman behind me? Morningside ladies can be a tough crowd.

I had high hopes for the music when they handed me a Church Hymnary (4th edition) with melody, not just words. Was this going to be a congregation of enthusiastic singers? Alas not, but they were boldly led by crashing organ music, albeit at a ponderous tempo. The line “with painful steps and slow” from “It came upon the midnight clear” was never more appropriate. We were also treated to four overly ambitious organ interludes, which almost left me longing for the guitars of St Peter’s

Almost, but not quite. Give me an old fashioned hymn over a trendy praise chorus any day.

Lessons: Colossians 3:12-17 and Luke 2:41-52, from The Revised English Bible.
Hymns: Angels from the realms of glory, It came upon the midnight clear, O little town of Bethlehem, Of the Father’s love begotten, Joy to the world.
Organ voluntaries: Noel Ecossais by Alexandre Guilmant, Rustic Serenade to the Madonna by Hector Berlioz, Meditation on the Infant King by Desmond Radcliffe, La Rejouissance & Minuet from Royal Fireworks Music by GF Handel.

Worth a return visit? On reflection, probably not. I can live quite happily without ever hearing that organ again … and I wouldn’t want to increase their carbon footprint with my petrol-guzzling transport choices. 

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