In a general way I don’t approve of christenings, having no religious beliefs. However a naming ceremony does seem appropriate, and if one’s inclination runs in a churchward direction, a christening is a as good a way as any other, though putting on a hypocritical show of belief – which is the case for most attendees – is something you would think the churches would want to discourage. Not that hypocrisy isn’t often a virtue.
The event last Sunday began rather oddly with the vicar giving instructions as to the location of the emergency exits. It went down well and seemed to inspire him because he then digressed into the subject of toilets and treated us to a number of synonyms, including one used in Uganda. Plucking messages from the trivia of everyday life is the stuff of vicars (and bloggers, now that I think of it), and so there was a degree of uncertainty whether the Rev was discharging a Health & Safety obligation or delivering a sermon.
Our friends and relatives, despite their many virtues, look a shifty bunch when in church. Indeed their response to the required affirmation of belief in the resurrection and the life everlasting was muted enough to suggest that they would prefer a last minute Mediterranean cruise, if the Almighty cared to rephrase His offer. Still there was general delight when the thing was done, and the baby was sweet throughout.
Afterwards we tucked into a sandwich and cake buffet in the church hall. This is a prefab structure with the gutters bound in razor wire, the windows steel reinforced, and the bottoms of the walls clad in corrugated iron sheeting. One is left feeling that the local worshippers must be a rowdy lot, who would trash the place if left to themselves. As it happens the wedding from which the present infant resulted was also held here and both occasions were a success because our families are plain folk and easily satisfied with a sausage roll and a glass of Aldi pop, provided we are given scope to talk about our ailments. Afterwards the guests did the washing up, stacked the chairs and put away the folding tables. There is something charming about this: an event pitched at the level of the guests (“dead common” as my mother would have said) and owned by them, instead of a shoddy show of non-existent wealth.
I had a thoroughly good time chatting with friends and family. Baby Emma was lovely and her parents, Clare and Neil are good people. I wish them happiness.
26 May 2014