Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Patron Saint of St. Croix Vineyard

One of the most wonderful discoveries we have had here in St. Stephen is the profound humor and writings of British humorist, Adrian Plass. He is the patron saint of our church. (can you still be alive and be a patron saint?) His stories and writings wiggle their way into a multitude of teachings and sermons. This morning Walter used a story from his autobiography, The Growing Up Pains of Adrian Plass, as a reading during our Celtic service. I wanted to remember it so I'm posting it here:

It was my earliest encounter with the truth, although I certainly wouldn't have called it a religious experience at the time, and it happened on the top deck of the number 81 bus which used to run between Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells. The journey only took about twelve minutes, but on this occasion that was long enough for a startling new truth to penetrate my ten-year-old consciousness so profoundly that it has affected alost everything I have done since that day....As I sat on the front seat....a phrase I had read earlier repeated itself over and over in my mind: 'Everybody is I.'

For some reason I sensed an important inner core of meaning in the words, but I was unable to dig it out. I was frustrated and fascinated by the problem. If only the answer - the secret, had been a solid thing. I wanted to stretch out my hand and grasp it firmly - make it mine...

Suddenly I stiffened. Body erect, hands flat on the ledge below the window, I pressed my forehead against the glass and stared in amazement at the crowds on the pavement below. The true meaning of those three simple, but puzzling, words had exploded in to my mind, destroying the illusion that I was the centre of the universe, and leaving me to cope, for the rest of my life, with the burden of knowledge. Every one of those people down there in the street, walking the pavements, driving cars, waiting for buses - every single one, whatever they were, whatever they looked like, whatever I thought of them, were as important to themselves as I was to myself! I shook my head trying to clear it of the incredible notion. Everybody is I.

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