Time with friends and family – what is the cost?

This is a busy time for most people. Periods leading up to Christmas is a hectic time for work, and prevalence of school exams  plus end of school terms also add up to mean a busy period for kids and parents. At such times, the church becomes an important source of respite, refreshments and affirmation and encouragement. Given the centrality of Sunday services, church at this time is an important factor.

This is also a time for planning for the coming year. Ministers generally embark on the planning process at this time and often lend support and momentum to the process and all who are involved in it.

Notwithstanding a long weekend (Melbourne Cup Day) therefore, the question of everyone counting on everyone else to be around on Sundays is one all church goers need to think about at this time. We cannot exhort each other, hand on heart, and expect to prop each other up, build each other and encourage each other if we are consistently away on Sundays. It becomes even more difficult when Sundays are often the only times we have where we can otherwise expect to see each other.

Maybe I am old schooled. Maybe my expectation that when I go to church I want to see everyone there – especially the shepherd – is misplaced, in this day and age. There is now so much emphasis on family time and time for good friends, that the cost is that of the wider community. Maybe out of necessity we focus on increasingly small groups to build relationships, especially with family, relatives and close friends. Hence if we are with these people, being with the wider community of faith becomes less important. Maybe that is acceptable now.

I guess if that is the situation it will take more effort than ever before, to build a community of faith, because the cost – that of giving up exclusive recreation time with family and close friends – gets increasingly higher and such sacrifices and priorities become increasingly harder to bear.


School Year-End Horsing Around

There was a young bloke on radio this morning. His name was Nick Langford. He’s the school captain of Melbourne Grammar, and on muck-up day he rode a horse to school and “parked” it on the school oval. Apparently that was one of 3 entitlements a school captain of Melbourne Grammar has. The other 2 were to grow a beard and bring the wife to a school function. I guess a school which screams establishment continues to frown on facial hair generally but even with this exemption he could not grow a decent one within a short period of time, and it must have been a very old rule to have a married high school student.

So Nick Langford exercised the only right he could and rode a horse to school. He had someone bring a horse down from Bendigo, spoke to the deputy principal and executed his triumphal entry.

Yeah – it’s that time of the year again, when school finishes up and kids celebrate. Last night Tress and I were at Kiddo’s Valedictory Night for the MacRob Class of 2011. It was at the San Remo Ballroom in Carlton North. Nicholson Street is a nightmare on most occasions and last night was no different. The usual administrative genius of MacRob school meant a venue was chosen for a function which started at 5pm, right in the middle of peak hour traffic, where public transport was limited (just the Tram No. 96) and car park were either 1 or 2 hour spots. I zipped in and out of adjoining streets and corners and finally found a 4 hour slot, and got in with about 5 minutes to spare. It all finished close to 9pm and by the time I got home I was too bushed (I had gone to work at 7am that morning to make up for an early finish) and could barely read half a page for my exam preps before deciding to just have a glass of red and go to sleep, before waking up to news of Nick Langford’s exploits.