I have always enjoyed Magic Shows, to see a good magician, like the late Paul Daniels do simple tricks in front of the cameras was truly magic! Yet once you know how the trick is done, how the ‘sleight of hand’ is achieved, then the magic is gone.
I was interested on Easter Sunday to note the different settings for the Easter Services given by Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis. The Archbishop had chosen, possibly with the advice or input from others, to hold his live streamed service from the kitchen of his flat at Lambeth Palace. I am sure that part of the idea behind this setting was the hope of connecting with everyday people across the Anglican Faith, on this very unusual Easter Sunday, when our churches stood empty and closed. A simple act of communion without the trappings and majesty of the usual Easter Eucharist, you might say without the magic!
Of course for Pope Francis, again live streaming to millions of Roman Catholics throughout the world, there would have been no question of the venue chosen for his Easter Service. People, or no people, the Easter Mass came from the beautiful St Peter’s Basilica inside The Vatican. For Roman Catholics the Eucharist is not just an act of remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, but an actual partaking of His very body and blood. It is, if you like, an almost magical experience.
I, as some of you may know, am very much in favour of bringing ‘church’ outside it’s four walls and connecting more with the people; walks of witness, food banks, street pastors and many, many more interactive ways of everyday ‘people’ connection. Yet I also very much feel we must not lose the beauty and majesty of our faith, shown so often in its music, art, literature and yes, even in its buildings! So as much as I applaud the intentions that may have been behind the ‘kitchen setting’, I do personally, on these very special occasions in the Church’s Year, enjoy and look forward to a little majesty, a little awe, and yes, a little magic!