THE SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTING.

13 Jun

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTING.

Little Me photo image0-17-1.jpg
Picture the scene.

The year would have been circa 1950 or just after. Inside the house the mother stared moodily out of the windows, hoping the rain would go away and knowing deep in her heart that it looked to be set in for the day.

Little Peter (a time machine here would be useful, so that I could nip back and take a peek at myself and see what was really what) stood in the shed which was really part of the house and which incorporated space for solid fuel as well as bicycles and garden spades, and stared, with his younger brother, at the leaden skies.

Even in circa 1950 or just after it rained.

Let’s look at him. Wearing the hated short trousers held up by braces, (many years would pass before he forgot the discomfort and actually got to like short trouser minus, of course, the braces), a shirt, white once but it’s been washed a few too many times for white to survive untarnished, shoe laces half undone, grey socks uneven on his legs.

Younger brother looks much the same. Only he’s smaller. But not a great deal: eighteen months smaller.

And they’re both looking at the rain.

It’s a Saturday and it’s raining. And this is actually quite a special Saturday. It’s the Saturday of the annual Sunday School outing and it won’t happen in the rain because it’s really only a picnic a mile away from home (so we can all walk there in a snake of snotty kids) and we can say grace together (for what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful) before making sure we take sandwiches and cakes from the correct plates.

The correct plates are those from most homes (everyone’s taken something, or should have, that was the way it worked) and the incorrect plates are from scruffier homes where there might be fleas. Even then Peter (circa eight years old in circa 1950 or just after) had enough wisdom to avoid incorrect sandwiches from incorrect plates.

Then, to aid digestion, the game of rounders. All cheery and wild and hooting like good games should be. Then, because it’s a Sunday School outing, the giving of thanks to God for providing the food that both correct and incorrect mothers had really sent and God hadn’t, and for the grass we were playing on and the poor children who couldn’t play on this grass because they lived far away in another land and were hungry. Yes, thanks for them. Or thanks that we’re not them, though in all truth we were poor enough.

That was the annual Sunday School outing, and it was over all too quickly. Or slowly, depending on your perspective. I rather think I loved it because it was social and away from the streets (the mean streets, though they weren’t really at all mean) and food was involved. Not just any food but out-doors food. Correct food from correct plates. And it happened every year if the weather was fit.

But today, circa 1950, a summer day (July, probably) it was raining, and raining and raining and certainly nowhere near fit.

Picture the scene. The shed and two small short-trousered boys despairing that the Sunday School outing would be cancelled. Because of the rain. Because of God’s rain.

I can hear young Peter now … “rain, rain, go away, come again another day…” loud as he could, lungs expanding, face anxious, and younger Ian joining in. And again – “rain, rain, go away, come again another day…” and the skies stayed grey.

And the rain pissed down. Heavier, if anything, when he thought it might be stopping. God’s rain on God’s Sunday School outing day. And the Sunday School outing never happened.

“There’s no point in going, not in this rain, nobody else will and we’ll try again next year”, said the mother.

“But it’s stopping!” wailed Peter, knowing that it wasn’t.

And suddenly knowing that if this is what God did to kids like him on his Sunday School outing day then he wasn’t much of a God at all, was he? It was a special day and God looked down and saw what? Nasty kids? No. Cruel kids? No. Unhappy kids? Yes.

He looked down and saw unhappy kids, and was pleased.

And that’s when Peter first saw past the silly Old Testament book and tasted, in his mind, the truth for the very first time.

God’s just a silly old story, and that’s that.

Rain or no rain.

© Peter Rogerson 13.06.15

Advertisements

2 Responses to “THE SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTING.”

  1. georgiakevin June 16, 2015 at 1:05 am #

    Another fun post of yours to read, outstanding!

    • Peter Rogerson June 16, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      It’s a vivid memory all these years later, Kevin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: