Wasn’t it interesting to have Fr Aubergine here talking about the Christians in the Middle East? It seems so sad that they have been there in Palestine ever since the time of Our Lord, and now so many of them are leaving. We have some Lebanese here in town you know dear. They’re the ones who have provided the coffee and these delicious pastries. They have their own liturgy and everything. Fr Aubergine celebrates their Mass. They call it the Divine Liturgy. That’s nice isn’t it? I think I’m going to start calling Mass ‘the Divine Liturgy’ from now on. No dear, not Mennonite– Maronite! I think Mennonites are those horse and buggy people up in Pennsylvania. Do you know I went to the Maronites once when Fr Aubergine had just opened up the church and my goodness, what a lot of incense he uses! The censer has bells on it so it jangles when he wafts the smoke about, and he wears completely different vestments and they sing in one of their different languages. I can’t remember which it is, but the men do the singing and it’s very beautiful. Then afterward Constance Mahoney was complaining about it and Fr Augergine said, “Now Connie, I’d be careful if I were you. The devil doesn’t like incense, and if you don’t like incense it makes me a bit worried about you. Anyway,” he said, “do you know why the devil doesn’t like incense?” Connie frowned a little–you know that way she has. Well, Fr Aubergine said, “Because it reminds him of home.” He is a card, that Fr Augergine. Everyone loves him don’t they? So now when he comes and tells us about the Christians in the Middle East it seems so sad. But I’m glad they’re here and that they’re safe with us, and don’t you just love their food? All that hummus and herbs and these delicious pastries and coffee? I had lunch just last week with Fr. O’Driscoll down at their little cafe called ‘Take Pita’. What disturbs me so much is how angry all the Muslims have become over the state of Israel. It does seem a little bit unfair that they had their land taken away from them like that, and suddenly they are being swamped with the Jewish people who they don’t like one little bit. On the other hand, don’t you feel sorry for the Jews after all they went through? It does seem rather nice that we gave them their ancient lands back again. Oh dear, it’s all so confusing, and how does anyone figure out a way forward? Now the Egyptians and all those other Muslim people are rioting and it all seems so hateful. What do I think about Muslims? Well, I don’t like to be against anyone my dear, and I really don’t think I hate anyone, but I think I like Muslims the least. I’m sure some of them are very nice people and that they love God in their own way, but they always seem so angry to me. Always marching up and down and shaking their fists and burning our flag and making their women dress up in those long black robes. Think how hot it must be for them poor dears! Maybe it’s just the climate that makes them that way. If you want to know the truth dear, I think they need to be converted. Henry used to joke about me and say, “You can take the girl out of the Baptist church but you can’t take the Baptist church out of the girl.” I suppose he’s right. If those poor souls could only come to realize how much God loves them and that Jesus redeemed them they might be a bit more joyful. Perhaps I’m wrong dear, but that’s how it seems to me. They just don’t have peace and joy now do they? And if they don’t have peace and joy, then I can’t think that their religion is all that it should be. But mind you, that goes for Mrs Hotchkiss too I suppose. She’s a Catholic, but I’ve never seen her smile. Henry used to say, “You can always tell the pillars of the church because their faces look like stone.” There now, I’m being naughty again, you’ll have to forgive me. Perhaps Mrs Hotchkiss has a cross to bear that I know nothing about. Pass me another one of those balaclavas will you dear? They’re just scrumptious.
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