from Charlie Chaplain’s Tales
Towards the end of its days as a mental health care hospital, there were perhaps only a couple of hundred patients on site at the Crichton Royal Hospital where I delivered spiritual care as chaplain – as well as conducting Sunday Worship for users and staff at the magnificent Crichton Memorial Church.
One particular Sunday, one the patients arrived late and sat right at the front (immediately below the lectern where I kept my notes)
He’d missed the Gospel Reading around which I was about to deliver a short homily.
Just into my address, I used the word “love”, at which he interrupted me by saying in a loud voice “Would that be Philia?”
“Eh, no – it’s ‘Agape‘” I replied…. and attempted to carry on.
“What’s the difference, then?” he interjected.
So – brief explanation from me
“How about loving my girlfriend?”
(I was tempted to say, “would like to be loving your girl friend, but I’m happily married!”) but answered, “that would be ‘Eros‘”
At this point, I literally tore up my notes and a dialogue about “Christian love” as found in the NT followed
It was a splendid service and I thoroughly enjoyed my intelligent and articulate friend’s intervention.
(a description of “Love” is at the bottom of this post)
Just outside the Church were beautiful lawns on which (in those days) the helicopter pad was situated. Helicopters are used to transfer seriously ill or injured (e.g. through a RTA incident) patients to or from the adjacent Infirmary.
One Sunday morning – during the Service – there could be heard the sound of helicopter blades whirling furiously above….. and it was discovered that just as furiously below it was one of our clients armed with an umbrella trying to “shoo” it away from landing (shouting loudly “B*gger Off! B*gger Off!”
The two amigos were inseparable and came to the Church virtually every Sunday – and always late.
Usually I’d be in the middle of an extemporized prayer when the side door of the Church would be thrown open – loudly – and in they would come.
S. , the more vocal of the two would stand in front of the congregation, wave to them, and say “Hello” – to which everybody, myself included, responded in like manner. They then would take their seats. I would try to pick up the thread of the ad libbed prayer, would follow this with a Scripture Reading then announce the next hymn (which would be followed by the Homily).
As I began to deliver this Address, after the singing, the two guys would get up and leave – before the aforementioned S. said “Goodbye” to the congregation, waved and with his pal made a noisy exit.
(maybe they had heard me preach before?!)