Thursday, January 3, 2013

If Only

“If only. If only we had a Bunter,” sighed Mother.

I knew what she meant.  “If only we had a Bunter.” Bunter was that wonderful manservant in Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels.  Bunter invariably did the right thing.  He cooked, acted as a personal valet, and tidied things up.  If only we had a Bunter.

“Well,” said I, “That’s a novel idea and an English novel at that!”

Mother glared at me across the ruins of breakfast on the table. “No need to get shirty Alfred, you know very well what I’m referring to.”

I raised an eyebrow.  A line from a poem flitted across my mind, “My head is bloody, but unbowed.”  I assumed a look of firm noncommittalness.  I’m not sure that noncommittalness is a word but you know what I mean.  I waited.

“Our Sunday brunch,” Alfred, said Mother impatiently. “The eggs!”

“Yes, Mother?” said I, knowing perfectly well that there was nothing wrong with the eggs at yesterday’s brunch at the Crescent.  Mother has a way of casting a lure upon the waters to see if I will rise to her bait.

Noting that I was content to lurk in the deep end of the pool Mother continued, “My eggs were overdone.”

Now, when Mother is in one of her moods it is no use to argue. I knew perfectly well that Mother always orders her eggs over hard.  It couldn’t be the eggs, so I said, “What else was overdone Mother?”

“The sermon, Alfred.” she snapped triumphantly, “The sermon was overdone!” she said rising to my lure.

“Aha! I thought so!” said I. “I wondered how long it would take you to get around to that.”

Mother continued, “If only we had a Bunter perhaps he could have suggested a more suitable Church.”

“If I recollect, Mother, Bunter was an Anglo-Catholic Churchman, and that would scarcely do.”

“Quite right, Alfred.  Call the bishop!  Perhaps he can be our Bunter.  Perhaps he can suggest a proper Church, one where the preaching will comfort the comfortable.  After all a Bishop is supposed to be the servant of the servants of the servants of the Lord, and providing comfort ought to be one of the major concerns of the Church.”

“You are quite right Mother.  The prophet says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, says your God.”

“Oh, very good Alfred!  How on earth did you remember that?” said Mother clapping her hands with joy.
. . . . . . .
St. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:2-3).

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