In June, I republished in this blog the article I had written for The Tablet on an alternative approach to pilgrimage. Clearly the author of the Parish Practice article in last week's Tablet hadn't taken it to heart, because there he encouraged every parish to consider a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a means of spiritual enrichment. This spurred me into writing a Letter to the Editor:
In our diocese there are in excess of 150 parishes, and England and Wales is made up of 24 dioceses. If each were to galvanise 20 parishioners into making tracks for Israel - inevitably it would be by air - this would release more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. When Jesus offered to come to the Centurian's house, to minister to his paralysed servant, he was told this was unnecessary: "Just give the word and my servant will be cured." (Matthew 8) Is it really beyond us to learn how to acquire spiritual enrichment today at a lower carbon cost?
I was optimistic about publication, but on opening this week's number... disappointed. Not a sign of my Letter, even in the online Letters Extra. Instead, there's one urging Holy Land pilgrims to make a 20kms. detour from Jerusalem - to visit a village that hosts the country's only brewery, "open to visitors". Jesus wept.
Optimistically again, I hung a bird feeder outside our kitchen window, and filled it with fat balls a month or more ago. Nothing happened... till the other day, when I noticed the fat balls had shrunk quite a bit. And at lunchtime today, we discovered why. This tiny mouse had crawled inside the feeder.
It's the last Summer Bank Holiday weekend, and this evening the culmination of the last Ashes Test has been clashing with Acts 1 and 2 of the last of seven Wagner operas at the Proms: the cricket went out with a frustrating (but hardly mouse-like) whimper, Mark Elder's Parsifal with a satisfying bang.