I don’t often say much about my work here, but if I had to sum it up in one word it would be ‘challenging’. Phyiscally challenging; intellectually challenging; emotionally challenging; and spiritually challenging. And most of the time I enjoy the challenge, but after 12 hours of being on my feet and often a few difficult conversations, then I’m usually glad to stop. This can include watching TV, meeting friends in a pub or collapsing with a takeaway. Last night it included gazing up at Jesus’ armpit.
I’d cycled up the hill after work to go to the alternative worship service, and because I’d got out of work late then I was late for the service, but I sneaked in and sat on the floor in the middle. As I recovered physically from the effort of getting myself and my bike up the hill and entered into the spirit of the service, I lay down. It soon became clear that most of the service was made up of stations around the church. Given that I had missed the explanation and didn’t quite have the energy to walk around the church yet, I opted to stay where I was – soaking up the background music.
I’d been lying on the floor with my eyes closed for a minute or two, when I opened them. And found myself looking at the crucifix from below. This Anglican church has a fairly large, Catholic-looking, cruxifix handing from the ceiling at the front of the church. The front of it, being brought up in a low church, really doesn’t do anything for me. Its far too fancy and cringe-worthy for my liking. But from where I was lying I could see the back of the cross, as it hung dramatically above me, and Jesus’ armpits; and it was strangely spiritually stimulating. It was a wow moment, when I first saw it. And then I could use it as a centre point in my thoughts and prayer. I think it was the way it was hovering above me (if it had fallen, the base of the cross would have landed on my legs) and the way it was completely unplanned, than specifically the armpits. But still, the holy sweat glands caused some laughter in the pub afterwards.