The bishop came to town, to confirm the little folk, including Girl1. He was chatty and friendly, but he packed a punch.
Girl2 was baffled by the hat business. He arrived with the pointy one on, but when she next looked up from her singing sheet, he’d a small round pink one on. How did she miss that? Could he really have been wearing two hats at once?
The bishop wondered of the children what they might want to do when they grow up: I kept waiting for Girl1’s “I’m going to be President’ to pop up amongst the footballers, vets, game designers and singers. He reminded them that who you are is not the job you do, and so they announced that they’d like to be healthy, caring, kind and nice. A well trained bunch.
He talked about the hundred wonderful children there for confirmation; their hopes and dreams and joys. And he presented us- families, friends, the parish community- with an explicit challenge. We know this, but it doesn’t get said quite so bluntly too often.
It’s up to us all to support those children, to not let them fall prey to those who want to laugh at them, ruin them or abuse them. It’s up to us to help them battle with external or internal demons. The challenge is to let all one hundred celebrate their 21st birthdays without being in jail, or the psychiatric hospital, or worse, the cemetry.
There are testing times ahead.
In the meantime, I totally failed to take a picture of the altar server wearing the bishop’s hat, or of his rather stylish bespoke staff. Instead, I got him mortifying Girl1 by singing. I missed the jazz hands. An unusual evening.