A baptismal pool has been collected, put together and filled.
The candidate has been prepared. People have journeyed with him for years and supported in prayer and practical help as he has taken the rough road of abstinence to combat addiction.
Flowers have been bought.
Cards have been signed.
There is joyful anticipation as we wait to bear witness to a dying of the old self in the waters and a raising to new life in Christ.
The candidate walks through the doors and walks out again. He can’t do it.
Prayer is enjoined.
A friend is dispatched to seek him out.
She returns alone.
His family bear it with the stoicism of those frequently disappointed.
The vicar has to carry on.
‘He is risen!’ He cries out.
‘He is risen indeed! Hallelujah ! ‘ we respond.
The war is won but the battle still rages.
We hear of hope in the face of death.
The vicar’s barely stifled sob, drowned out by the music of last song, expresses our corporate pain.
This, the reality of church in the inner city.