A good night last night, enjoying that particularly British of entertainments, the Panto. This was one of the better manifestations of the art - an amateur production at one of the churches I'm minister of. No-one's reputations were on the line; people were simply taking part for the sheer joy of performing.
I'll be honest: the acting was hardly Olivier award-winning material. Lines were fluffed, or forgotten, but no-one cared: It was almost expected that there would be such mess-ups, and when they occurred they were simply laughed off by cast and audience alike. People gave their all, singing, dancing, hamming it up for all they were worth, and simply enjoying the experience. And most of them will be back next year: not even an errant fire alarm during the interval dampened the atmosphere.
Today I've been involved in worship, but only as a bit-player this week. I was preaching and presiding at a communion service in an ecumenical congregation in our circuit. It's interesting when one is in this position, listening to the comments at the door. Some will comment on the content of the sermon, some on the stories you told in the course of it, some on the hymns/ songs that were used. How much, I sometimes wonder, are their comments simply about how much they've been 'entertained' for the 90 minutes or so that they were in church? How often is worship gauged by what we got out of it, rather than by how it helped us to engage with God (however we understand that word) - as if it was something that is there purely for our benefit?
This afternoon I was enthralled by the World Cup cricket match between England and India, which ended so dramatically with both teams on 338 and therefore a tie. Perhaps it was the only fair result, after excellent batting and bowling displays from both teams. It was a tense game, with the momentum of the match swinging one way, then the next. And it was certainly entertainment.