Many of you will have seen the Pope's recent homily on the fruitfulness of praise, telling people not to despise good people who praise the Lord in a spontaneous manner. Deacon, would you mind holding back on your spontaneous cries of "Hallelujah! I been saved!" for a few minutes, so that people can hear me preach? Just go back to sticking pins in that wax dummy of Brother Eccles. Thanks.
Fr Arthur releases an "emu of peace".
Now, we in the church of St Daryl interpret the Pope's words as meaning that you can sing whatever you like, and it is acceptable to the Lord. There's no need to look for good hymns with well-constructed melody and harmony, with verses that rhyme and scan appropriately, and which contain at least one new idea in every line. No, the Lord likes it if we sing "Walk in the Light" thirty times in one hymn, without ever bothering to analyse what walking in the Light actually involves, or why exactly it is a good thing to do. The same applies if we sing "Kum ba yah" thirty times. Who needs the intellectual hymns of a Newman or Wesley? It's sheer snobbery to prefer them.
You know, the Lord wouldn't mind if we just sang "The Laughing Policeman". Let's do that now.
Oh, be joyful in the Lord!
I know a fat old policeman, He's always on our street. A fat and jolly red-faced man, He really is a treat. He's too kind for a policeman, He's never known to frown. And everybody says He is the happiest man in town! A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ooo hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ooo hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ooo hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
There! That did us all a power of good, didn't it? I'll bet that God was laughing too! That's the joy of praise for you, even if we're not sure exactly who we're praising here. Even the deacon joined in the chorus.
We take the same attitude to the liturgy. A committee of scholars has produced a new English translation, faithful to the Latin original. Phooey! As the great Fr Butler of Brentwood has said, the Vatican II Council (crosses himself reverently, and genuflects at the sacred name) allows us to use the vernacular, if we want to, and this means "informal, colloquial speech". Cor, strike a light, missus!
So, let's have another hymn. This one comes with a liturgical dance.
Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim chim cher-ee! A sweep is as lucky As lucky can be!
That was good, wasn't it? Of course in this hymn the sweep is a metaphor for all Christian people. Well, let's not be judgemental here - he represents all people of faith, regardless of what it is or whether they have any. God is indeed bringing us luck!
By the way, next Sunday we'll have one of our special "fun" Masses. The deacon and I will be dressing up as a pantomime horse - I'll take the front part of course - and we ask you all to enter into the spirit of the occasion. After all, what is a holy day, but a holiday? Let's parteeeeee....
The priest and deacon on their way to Mass.