Liturgical Question

While it is often lovely to have children in church and something to which most clergy will aspire, there can be something unnerving about the questions they ask. When I have the local S1 class in to scamper round church I enjoy it all, including dressing them up and acting out a service, but my heart always sinks at the Question Time. Well who wouldn’t risk making up something just to save face? But when the RE teacher is standing there – and you know he goes to church – you can’t really risk it. So far, I’ve managed to bluff my way out of anything too tricky.

Last Sunday one of our own teenagers asked me a question which has left me pondering… We’d done the Gaudete thing, and the pink thing, and the mood lifting thing. And then she asked me why we didn’t veil the crosses during Advent?  “I mean, he’s not born yet so how can he be on a cross?” she asked. “Why don’t we focus on the nothingness of Advent like we do at Lent? Why don’t we veil everything so we can just think about him about to be born and have no distractions?”

Why indeed? Anyone know?


6 thoughts on “Liturgical Question

  1. Do they actually have Christian RE teachers? Is that allowed?

    As a child I used to think we should only have Christmas and Easter 30 something years apart, I think her logic is going something like that. Pretty High Church S1s round your way aren’t they? Haven’t seen a veiled cross in aeons (nor an S1 scamper, come to that, not cool).

    Here’s a REALLY hard question I was asked once:- Did Noah have to take fish on to the Ark.

  2. Because Advent celebrates two things – or more.Only one of these is the as-yet-unborn babe (and if one is considering a time-sequence, a child lying safe within his mother). Another theme is how the whole history of his people led climatically to the point of his conception and birth, true even if one does not like the sin-weighted narrative of the Nine Traditional Lessons; true if one looks for a growth of understanding. And it also looks for a time when Christ will be more fully with us – a time when he comes again. And because it looks for this, it considers what we ARE doing towards peace and justice, the bedrock of his kingdom, and what more we MIGHT do. So although it is to a degree a time to discover our failings, it is a time to look at them in an atmosphere of hope, whereas in Lent we consider them starkly. And in Holy Week, when we veil our churches and strip them of ornaments, we think of the price paid to give us hope and the emptiness that would be life without Him.

  3. I wonder if I might have come across something which acknowledges this oddity. Recently I have attended two communion services where the cross was placed on the floor in front of the altar. Nobody has been able to give an explanation (I didn’t ask the priests in either church as it might have seemed like a criticism, so I asked elsewhere) What do you think?

  4. I saws that on your blog and no, I don’t know either. I’ve often put a cross flat on the floor in holy week and put candles on it – as a visual focus. But I don’t usually focus so much on the cross in Advent.

    Best thing is to ask. If they are trying to be meaningful then they’ll be delighted to tell you.

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