Wednesday, 13 June 2012


We have spent this grey, damp, soggy half-term holiday on the outskirts of London.  Our holiday destination was chosen deliberately to enable us to travel into the city and experience some of the Jubilee celebrations first hand.  So on Sunday, after attending morning service at Westminster Abbey, we stood next to Lambeth Bridge and cheered as the Royal Barge sailed passed.  On Tuesday we were less successful.  The Mall had been closed a full two hours before we turned up because the crowd was so large.  Consequently we saw nothing except the fly-past!  It was an ‘interesting’ experience to actually be there yet have to wait until we got home to see it on the telly!  We were, in a way, part of the story of the day because we made up part of that 1.2 million strong crowd – yet, in reality, we were barely spectators.

Later in the week we spent a fantastic afternoon at The Harry Potter Studio Tour.  Once again there were crowds yet this time our tickets guaranteed that we would see what was on offer.  So we walked through the Great Hall, peered into Hagrid’s Hut and drank Harry, Ron and Hermione’s favourite tipple of ‘butter-bear’!

In the final exhibit, a splendid scale model of Hogwarts, I overheard a teenager exclaim in wistful tones: ‘Ah, it brings back so many memories’.  This prompted some unspoken questions on my part.  Did they actually go to this school of witchcraft and wizardry and share a dorm with Harry Potter?  Of course not!  I think the misty-eyed teenager was simply recalling the time they saw the film or read the book.  They were re-living the story and it felt to them, I suspect, that they were part of it.  Perhaps that’s a true mark of success for any fiction writer – to draw you into the narrative so much that you actually believe you’ve been to a place called Narnia, Hogwarts or Casterbridge.

So this week has got me thinking about stories.  In the Jubilee we struggled to even get a view – in a way we didn’t quite make it into that story.  As for Harry Potter – as the tour finished and we stepped back into a damp June half-term we realised that we had to leave the story behind.  However inspirational and enjoyable we found it – it was after all nothing more than a wonder-filled work of fiction.

What then do we believe about another story – that of Jesus Christ?  Can his story become ours?  Can we get involved or do we feel excluded at the back unable to participate?  Is it simply a work of fiction or does it touch our every-day lives?

I believe that anyone can be part of the continuing story of The Church and that we can all have a personal faith-narrative.  And in this story we are never spectators but participants, eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

With best wishes,


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