“It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be a called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!”
With the glorious celebration of Palm Sunday over, I returned to St M’s the following day known as Holy Monday and the day in which Jesus stormed into the Temple of Jerusalem and in anger threw out all those who had been buying and selling in the surrounding courtyard.
And having hurled the tables of the money changers upside down and kicked over the stools of the pigeon sellers; he then reminded the astonished crowds that the Temple should be used only for prayer.
As the buying and selling inside any church remains a hot topic for debate some two thousand years later, I shall say no more about it other than the idea of a furious Jesus throwing tables, stools, pigeons and the people out of the Temple courtyard has had a powerful effect upon my imagination since I was a child!
However, here at St M’s on this Holy Monday, our church was much more serene…
OR so I thought!
As I was enjoying a little peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of my studio with Easter eggs still to paint, the pedestal stands to clean, flowers for the Chancel to prepare as well as the search for little Barry’s eye glasses and adding the finishing touches to Mark’s football scarf – I heard the patter of familiar mice feet…
And proudly wearing her favourite blue checked apron and with feather duster in hand was Angie!
As the mouse who helps to keep St M’s as neat as a new pin, Angie is very busy as she rushes around the parish with her bucket and mop however, she always has a smile on her face.
And as she set about polishing the brass candlesticks for the chancel; we enjoyed a little natter about this and that…
Now even though Angie is also one of the kindest mice here at St M’s, she is rather forgetful and has a habit of losing something or another from her red bucket.
And with the polished candlesticks now gleaming beautifully, I could hear her mutter aloud to herself –
Ooo! Now where did I put my best feather duster?
Fortunately for Angie, there was another feather duster in her red bucket and with that in hand off she pottered to attend to some dusting in the Nave.
I happily admit that I would rather read a book than do any cleaning but as I watched Angie carefully sweep the dust from the St M’s Candle Stand with such lovely smile on her face, I just had to ask her why she seemed so happy as she cleaned.
‘Ooo! I love being here at St M’s Church” she said “and even though I don’t come to many of the services here, I’m happy that when the other mice visit this church, it will always be clean and welcoming for them.
And as my wise grandmother was always fond of saying ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness Angie!’
Now, Tee how about a nice cup of tea?’
Having refused my offer of help with making the tea, she pottered off to the back of the church to the ‘glory hole’ as she called it and as I listened to the sounds of clattering mugs and the kettle boiling, I wandered over to the reading stand to take a look at our church notices AND there was THE missing feather duster!
Returning with mugs of tea and with a plate of delicious looking biscuits; Angie was thrilled that I’d found the missing duster.
Ooo! I do like it in here…
Angie suddenly blurted out and as I looked around at everything out of place with the piles of upturned chairs and the dirty floor, she chuckled:
I know what you’re thinking, how can anyone enjoy being surrounded by all of this mess and confusion? Now, I don’t pretend to know much about anything BUT I have faith that it won’t be like this for long…
Ooo! Now where did I put that hoover? Ooo! There it is, silly me!
Now shouting to make herself heard over the noise of the hoover, Angie continued:
‘Tee, our world is a messy world to be sure and there are times when everything feels out of place and we will all feel confused and unhappy about itbut here’s the thing, no matter how topsy-turvy things may seem, we can still try to make this world a better place.
Now here in my world, I can’t do much in the way of reading aloud a fancy sermon or writing a prayer or even singing with the choir but I can enjoy a natter with our Mr Madrigal and give my time and know-how in cleaning…’
Ooo! Is that my missing rubber glove? How did that get there?
With the floor now hoovered and mopped and with everything as it was before, the time had come for me to return to the studio and as Angie and her red cleaning bucket were also getting ready to leave St M’s Church – I told her how much I had enjoyed our natter and that delicious biscuit!
However, just as I was heading for the door, I heard the familiar refrain:
Ooo! Now where did I leave my green polishing cloth?