Church of England

Elevation of the Blessed Asparagus: a Church of England pantomime

Did the Dean of Worcester Cathedral not pause to think for just one second how utterly, utterly absurd this would look? Really, words fail (though some must necessarily follow). A sacred procession down the Cathedral nave becomes an infantile pantomime as a block of asparagus is elevated and adored like the Blessed Host, and two men dressed up like Monty Python pay some sort of vacuous obsequious homage. What exactly do we have there? Crusader? St George? And what in the name of all that’s holy is a grown man doing dressed up like a jolly green prick? This is church, for God’s sake. Really, for His sake, can the Church of England not offer something clean and undefiled in the worship of God?

England might be a major producer of asparagus, and the Vale of Evesham might be hosting the world famous Asparagus Festival, but where exactly does this stop? Would the Church of England permit a man dressed up as a baked bean to process behind a Heinz tin of the things, and sanctify the mummery with a facade of thanksgiving? And why only adoration of asparagus? Where’s the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms? Would the Dean really permit a walking fungus to participate in an act of divine worship?

And no, before you leap to defend this farce, it is not akin to the Harvest Festival: ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ is about rejoicing in industry and the serious stuff of life: it is never, ever turned into a Telletubby-fest with a guest appearance by Worzel Gummidge prancing behind the vicar. Surely Worcester Cathedral could have found a way of thanking God for asparagus without bringing the Church of England into disrepute. If this doesn’t make ‘Have I Got News For You’, they’ll have missed the religious frolic of the week.

Gus the Asparagusman (for it is he) has no place at all in a worshipful act of reverence: he doesn’t direct our minds to heaven or toward God, but points us to Dipsy and Tinky Winky somewhere in La La Land. Sanctity should be free from all uncleanness, and that includes buffoonery, mumbo jumbo and capers (both sorts).

Honestly, if the Church of England can bless increasingly bent sticks of asparagus, it can surely offer a ceremonial rite for anything – literally, anything. And that, of course, is exactly where we’re heading.

  • I’m from Barcelona

    Sadly it is yet another example of the descent of the CoE into farce. The disconnect is astounding.

  • Maalaistollo

    As with many aspects of our national life, infantilism is increasingly dominant. Doesn’t seem to be much of it about in the enemy camp, though.

  • CliveM

    You know, the rediculousness of the photo caused me to laugh out load (embarrassing in the office), if I hadn’t been told I would have assumed this to be a children’s service.

    I know dressing up in rediculous gear is normal for the CofE, but please, let’s show a little dignity.

  • Ray Spring

    Worcester Cathedral is pretty imposing. It has a magnificent nave. Well worth a visit. Is King John buried there?, and was it from the Cathedral Tower that Charles 11 realised he was beaten by Cromwell and went off to hide in various oak trees? A beautiful part of England. I miss it.

    • Worcester Cathedral is pretty imposing. It has a magnificent nave.

      Clearly there are also some less-than-magnificent knaves there as well.

  • len

    The esparagus is only ‘venerated’.Nothing to see here, move along please.

  • Busy Mum

    A former Bishop of Worcester would have had a field day with this lot…

    “Brethren…… ponder and examine this well, whether our bishops and abbots, prelates and curates, have hitherto been faithful stewards or no?…….
    These be the false stewards, whom all good and faithful men every day accuse unto the rich Master of the Household, not without great heaviness, that they waste His goods; whom He will also one day will call to Him, and say to them ‘What is this that I hear of thee?’….
    ‘Oh, what hear I of you? You, that ought to be my preachers, what other thing do you, than apply all your study hither , to bring all my preachers to envy, shame and contempt?….Come forth then, let us see an account of your stewardship. An horrible and fearful sentence; Ye may have no longer My goods in your hands.’
    You see, brethren, you see, what evil the evil stewards must come to……”

    Hugh Latimer, preaching from Luke 16 before the convocation of the clergy, 1537

  • Oh FFS Worcester. F-F-S.

  • Graham Wood

    Agree. What an absurd and meaningless farce. If the event does get reported in the secular press and given the full lampooning treatment it deserves then the richly deserved ridicule may serve the purpose of exposing the sheer scale of meaninglessness which marks the latest C of E foolishness.

    How relevant then (admittedly in a different context, but the principle remains) of Paul’s sorrowful comment : “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you……” (Rom. 2:24)

    When the Gospel of Christ is rejected for “pantomimes ” such as this, then it is little wonder that countless numbers of men and women dismiss the church as an irrelevant anachronism having no real message of hope for them. That is the real tragedy behind the farce.

    • magnolia

      The C of E gets caught in a bind. It sometimes defends missionary activities that are semi-successful in getting some people in through some doors not necessarily to anything with much serious worship involved,( maybe not much more coffee and buns– or at best fuzzy excitable youth music,– than worship or prayer or bible study); it then studies who came along and why, and then the studies suggest continuing in the same vein to get more of the same sorts of people along to the same sorts of things in the same sorts of ways. Those who question this approach are thought weird and ignorant and largely ignored.

      Hence this sort of thing, which is pantomime, but not as polished…

  • worrywort

    Next Monday there will be a naked woman riding a Horse up the Nave. Happy Beltane everybody.

    • Coniston

      In Coventry cathedral?

      • worrywort

        No Coniston. My rubbish joke sorry. (Many a true word said in jest).

    • May Day, May Day, May Day ….

  • Albert

    When you’ve lost confidence, you crack jokes and laugh. The trouble is, when you do that, you convey to other people that you’ve lost confidence.

    • len

      I think God must laugh at all of us when He sees our antics.

      • Albert

        Yes, but the only examples I can think of of God laughing are not encouraging for those he laughs at.

  • Edward Prys

    The other great vegetable export of Worcestershire is the Brussels Sprout – If sprout worship is on the agenda for December, someone prepare the thurible now.

    • len

      Brussels gets enough worship as it is.

    • 1649-9-11again

      Sauce!

  • Dave Faulks

    I’m so glad I left the CofE and crossed the Tiber. .

    • Busy Mum

      They are quite good at dressing up and worshipping bread over there, aren’t they?

      • Dave Faulks

        I’m not going to waste my time defending Catholic theology with you in this discussion. I suspect you may not be open to my answers..

        • Busy Mum

          OK, that’s fine by me. What made you cross? Disgust with the CofE, or the attraction of Rome?

          • Dave Faulks

            I converted for positive reasons – not negative ones. It was a sudden realisation of the place of Tradition rather than Sola Scriptura ( I had been an evangelical). Also I had started from the Bible to understand the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the redemptive picture.

          • Busy Mum

            So you gave up on the Bible as the sole authority and yet seek to justify Mariolatry by appealing to the Bible?

          • Merchantman

            Her position from scripture is that Jesus corrected her, which she accepted with humility .

          • IanCad

            “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”, 1Tim. 2:5
            I really don’t see where Mary has a role in the process; particularly as she is dead and in the grave.

          • len

            You chose’ tradition’ over the Word of God….
            Wel,l you should fit in well with the RCC crowd….

          • Try to learn and understand the difference between sacred Tradition and tradition, Len.

          • len

            I will, when you agree that scripture is the final authority

          • Whose interpretation of scripture?

          • len

            The Authors.
            Not that bunch of old guys who tell you what God’ really meant to say’.

          • According to scripture, the Author has chosen His representatives.

          • len

            Not that bunch of old phonies of yours then.
            Jack, I think we might be reaching ‘good disagreement ‘any time soon?.

          • Anna

            As a recent convert to Catholicism, I wonder what you make of the account of the Marian apparition at Fatima?

            For myself, I was struck by how ‘her’ words pointed the believer to a deeper worship and reverence for the Virgin Mary rather than Christ. I believe we should respect Virgin Mary, but unless one is steeped in Roman Catholic thinking, it is impossible to accept any of it as Christian – it sounded idolatrous and totally out of sync with the teachings of Christ and the apostles concerning salvation.

          • Dave Faulks

            I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know. The overall message of Fatima was a call to repentance towards God, faith in Jesus Christ and honour to his Blessed Mother and a consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The first Friday and Saturday devotions were calls to this end. Devotion to Mary is not for her sake, but rather for the Son of God to whom she testifies. Hope this helps. God bless you.

          • len

            Rome seems to be a magnet for those who like dressing up and shedloads of ritual, also those statues which are all over the place brighten the church up quite a bit?.

          • Busy Mum

            That’s why they encouraged it in the CofE, isn’t it?

          • len

            Probably?.

        • len

          Defence of the RCC?.Now I know you are joking…..

      • len

        Spot on!….

    • carl jacobs

      So then you have never heard of the Giant Catholic Puppets of Doom, I take it? No, I’m not making this up. A simple Google search will satisfy your curiosity.

      Stones and glass houses and all that.

      • Dave Faulks

        Busy Mum, Len and Carl Jacobs – please refer to my first reply. I don’t feel obligated to defend myself to a pack of predators. God bless you all.

        • len

          God help you…
          Nice of you to visit and let us know how you fell into the Tiber and got carried straight into the Jaws of Doom

        • You’d be wasting your time with those three, Dave.

          • Busy Mum

            Out and out heretics, I suppose?

          • Tsk, tsk, Jack is more understanding. That title’s reserved for the Inspector. Being kind, Jack would suggest you three are possibly invincibly ignorant.

          • len

            Only ‘possibly’. You must be mellowing with age Jack?.

          • You haven’t been paying attention, Len. The alternative is wilfully ignorant and that’s a one-way ticket to Hell as you would be personally culpable. Only God can judge this.

          • len

            Does the RCC let God Judge people?.Thought the Magisterium did that with help from the pope when he felt a bout of ‘infallibility’ coming on?.

          • The Church judges right and wrong thinking and action – the state of a man’s soul is for God alone.

          • len

            Not according to God.
            ‘Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,’
            John 5:22

          • Last time Jack read his bible Jesus was still God. Has that changed?

          • len

            Thats what it says in the Bible Jack, and who am I to argue?.

          • Busy Mum

            Ah, the RCC always claimed the monopoly of truth and knowledge.

          • You seriously think God would leave this to fallen man alone and not appoint a Church with the responsibility to carry forward His Truth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

          • Busy Mum

            He has a church, but whether or not the RCC is that church is another matter.

          • In Jack’s opinion, the choice can only be between the Eastern Orthodox Church and Latin Catholic Church and our differences centre on the role of the Bishop of Rome.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Latin Catholic Church? What about eastern rite Catholics in union with Rome?

          • True …

          • Busy Mum

            We Protestants have quite strong views about the pretensions of the Bishop of Rome too.

          • len

            Yes.God would never let man get hold of his Plan for salvation!. That why the Holy Spirit has sole charge over salvation.

          • Anna

            Isn’t the church made up of fallen and redeemed sinners? God has indeed trusted fallen man with so much more than any of us, in our limited wisdom, would consider prudent.

          • len

            Thought we were ‘almost’ singing from the same hymnsheet Jack?.

        • CliveM

          Then don’t come onto a site and be a pompous arse.

          • Dave Faulks

            And God bless you, too.

          • CliveM

            Great, faux humility to go with the pomposity.

          • Dave Faulks

            Your discourtesy does you no credit. You don’t have insight into my motives. I still wish you well, as is only reasonable for any Christian.

          • CliveM

            As long as you’re happy.

          • Dave Faulks

            I have been a great deal happier as a Catholic than I ever was as a Protestant. The Catholic Church has its own problems and at times an ignoble past – which shouldn’t be avoided – but that is down to flawed human beings and not the divine truth at its core. Perhaps “joy” is a better term than “happiness”, since the latter is dependant on external circumstances.

      • One seriously questions whether Call to Action and their ilk, are Roman Catholic, as opposed to liberal leftist protestantism.

        The “new song” that God’s People are meant to sing appears to embody a ground-up, proletarian approach to the Church, as liberated from the domination of a traditional, hierarchical, dogmatic, and priestcraft-tainted notion of Church that supposedly prevailed from Constantine until Vatican II (otherwise known as “Year Zero”), when many in the Church suddenly decided that Catholics should all become happy Puritans, Gnostics, and Revolutionary Socialists.

        It derives from the “apophatic” meaning of the puppets: as instruments in deconstructing traditional forms that stand between the individual and God. “Forms,” like “dogmas,” are, to the modern mind, idols, and must be taken down. The traditional form of the liturgy, thus, is the enemy of faith, and the puppets invade its sanctum, as agents of iconoclasm. In short, the puppets are intended as mockeries, speaking (mutely) truth to power (Silence = Death!), meant to pull down the temple in the name of the people, acting in the liberty of the free spirit. They are meant to unmask hypocrisy—regarded as the ancient tradition in its entirety.

        It is a Leftist commentary on the sacred liturgy equivalent, shall we say, to the scene in that devoted occultist, spiritualist, and utopian feminist L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, when lowly Toto, unfazed by the smoke and mirrors and priestcraft of the Great Oz, knocks over a screen—the veil of the temple—and reveals the mystery as a humbug.

        http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1544/whence_come_these_puppets_of_doom.aspx
        [The article is worth reading in its entirety]

        • carl jacobs

          Well then. You certainly won’t deny that THIS is authentically Catholic.

          https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/21/hundreds-flock-lowell-church-venerate-heart-saint/0nyVrhfrBuWkm0OhBl2k7H/story.html

          The asparagus is ridiculous. The cafacerous heart is idolatrous. You can tell me which is worse.

          • There’s no comparison between approaching holy relics with faith in God’s power to use them for His purposes (as He has done, according to scripture) and a pantomime that undermines the dignity of sacred worship.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s not a Holy Relic. It’s a cadaverous heart. It’s full of death and corruption. And God doesn’t need a magic talisman to act.

            Ask a typical observer which he considers more disturbing. You can mock the blessing of asparagus. Kissing a box containing the heart of a dead man is dark and disturbing.

          • Yes, it is a Holy Relic and no more “dark and disturbing” than using the bones of Elisha to raise the dead.

          • carl jacobs

            Who exactly used those bones and where were they at that moment? Here’s a hint. They weren’t inside a gold box being perpetually paraded around a church in anticipation of a miracle.

            And do you really not see the difference between the restoration of life and the perpetuation of death?

          • Protestants have always had a problem with God using matter as channels of grace.

          • CliveM

            Must be honest, I do find it a little unsavoury.

    • len

      You went in the wrong direction…

    • teigitur

      Welcome home. A route taken by me many years ago. Still miss Evensong. But only Evensong!

  • Stig

    There is one God, and only He should be worshipped. If He looked like asparagus then so would we being made in His image… hang on wait a minute… 🙂

  • Mrs S wilson

    I thought you were joking when I saw this picture. Is there nothing the C of E won’t do to try to look trendy? If they could only see how ridiculous they are making themselves! Makes one despair.

  • When Peter Atkinson was appointed Dean he wrote: ‘Worcester Cathedral is a magnificent building, with a noble history, and it is very humbling to be asked to contribute something to its life and work’, preferably without making the place a laughing stock.

  • carl jacobs

    We demand a service for … the sacred shrubbery. A nice one. Not too expensive.

    • … with participants having neatly trimmed bushes.

      • Merchantman

        Why not celebrate nuts too; Hazel, Brazil that sort of thing.

  • len

    Seems like when you don`t worship God you will worship(sorry vernerate ) anything. Asparagus, bones, bit of old wood, skulls, dead people, trees, plants,theologies,

  • “And what in the name of all that’s holy is a grown man doing dressed up like a jolly green prick?”
    Because he is a prick? So to speak.

    • len

      You are very close to the truth there Jack…Too close 😉

    • Maalaistollo

      He’s green to distinguish himself from the others on the staff.

  • Dreadnaught

    They wouldn’t look out of place in a Gay Pride parade including the guy in a frock at the front. Nice embroidery too if I’m not mistaken.
    How can they keep their faces straight.
    The Muslims must be pissing themselves with laughter.

    • len

      We mustn`t mention the meteorite Muslims walk around , whatever we do .

      • Dreadnaught

        Quite so Leonard but then I find all religion is totally absurd.

        • len

          So do I Dreadnaught.
          But I don`t follow’ religion’.Look what religion did to Jesus Christ?.

  • Slack Alice

    It is shameful. It is demeaning. It is insulting.It is so sad.

  • carl jacobs

    In related news, GAFCON discusses parachuting a bishop into England.

    • len

      We could do with a real Bishop in the UK.

      • Busy Mum

        We could do with THE real Bishop in the UK; the ‘Shepherd and Bishop of our souls’….

    • David

      There are few, just a few, Bible following bishops, but not many. As a GAFCON supporter I say, please come as reverse missionaries – the faithful need your leadership and support.

      • Merchantman

        Lots of Asparagus leading Deans though.

  • Slack Alice
  • Redrose82

    They’re nuts, they have gone bananas.

    • len

      No…they’ve gone ‘asparagus’, which is far worse than bananas.

  • Sarky

    Looks like a crap fancy dress party.

    • Busy Mum

      Maybe because that is precisely what it is?

      • Sarky

        I’m looking forward to the banana escorted on each side by a plum.
        I would actually go to church to see that!!

        • Busy Mum

          I recently found out that banana is now used as an acronym for ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone’……

    • chefofsinners

      Has the guy in green come as David Banner? “Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.”

  • chefofsinners

    Makes you long for the days when they just used to read from the Koran.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Ummmm. . . not quite!!! Apostasy by any other name pongs just as putrid!!!!

  • David

    At its best this represents very bad judgment and exceedingly bad taste, whilst at its worst it is dancing with heresy.
    By all means bless the plough, new churches, houses or other appropriate buildings, new ships or even living animals and of course give thanks for our food, but this is worse than ridiculous.
    I conclude that the Dean is an idiot.

    • magnolia

      Why “even living animals”? Apart from God, angels, and humankind there is nothing else in creation higher, surely? Chunks of metal, never mind how useful they are are of considerably lower status in the eyes of God than higher animals, surely? Or are we not too fussed about God’s perspective?

      • David

        “Why “even living animals”?

        This is not an important point to me.

        But to answer your question I’d say, why ever not bless living animals, OK, they may not possess an eternal soul, but are they not all creatures of God’s creation ? They are sometimes a very important part of some peoples’ lives, especially shepherds and the livening alone elderly. Bringing domestic pets to Care Homes is now a recognised way of bringing warm cheer. Perhaps you dislike animals or you are just cold towards them, and those people who enjoy their presence ?

        “Chunks of metal,”

        Your unthinking criticism of priests who bless the boats and ships in which seafaring communities risk their lives on the high seas to earn a living, strikes me as narrow, cold and lacking in empathy and kindness, not to mention pastoral accommodation towards such communities and their families.
        But perhaps you never think about the risks fisherfolk run to bring you your fish meals.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Well I positive that animals have souls. Maybe even plants do too … anything that ‘lives,’ might well contain the Spirit of Life. God is ominpresent, after all.

        • magnolia

          Not against blessing houses or ships, but still think that the created order runs- approximately-apart from angelic beings and God:
          humankind
          higher mammals
          lower mammals/ higher birds
          other animals
          trees and higher plants
          asparagus!
          lower plants
          slugs, snails and assorted other nasties
          other substances.

          That is, until recent muddle, orthodoxy itself, I had thought, rather than cold-hearted. (As for seafarers God bless every one: I have the highest respect for the merchant navy and fisherfolk and the RNLI, and all sea dogs, canines included.) If Whizz is not in heaven right now then the universe is messed up!
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/12201127/Dog-awarded-posthumous-animal-OBE-for-saving-lives-of-nine-people-and-another-pooch.html

          But I don’t think our favourite i-pad is ever going to matter more than a higher mammal, or the bricks we make our buildings from for that matter, and the blessing of our houses or ships therefore only derives significance from the living creatures within them

    • Merchantman

      ‘the Dean is an idiot’, one of many.

  • len

    I don`t suppose this farce by the Cof E is any worse than carrying around some old bloke aloft on a golden throne whilst all those dressed in funny clothes fall down an ‘venerate’ him?.

  • chefofsinners
    • Jack seeds your point but no self respecting Jew would dress up as a stalk of wheat to be waved before the Lord. If we’re going to do this, then let’s do it broccoli.

  • You must “get with the program”, You Grace. Have a “good disagreement” if you really must, but do try to understand what this is all about.

    They’re getting down with the people and freeing them from the prison of traditionalism with its hierarchical, dogmatic, and priest-craft notion of Church. We should be happy-clappy worshippers. It’s all about deconstructing traditional forms that stand between the individual and God. The puppets mock and challenge power in the name of the people. We’re meant to laugh at them because in doing so we’re laughing at the liturgy itself and the priests.

    It is a Leftist commentary on the sacred liturgy equivalent, shall we say, to the scene in that devoted occultist, spiritualist, and utopian feminist L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, when lowly Toto, unfazed by the smoke and mirrors and priestcraft of the Great Oz, knocks over a screen—the veil of the temple—and reveals the mystery as a humbug.

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1544/whence_come_these_puppets_of_doom.aspx

  • len

    If any more evidence was needed that the Cof E has lost the plot this is it.
    All the maryrs of the C of E must be spinning in their graves.

    Jesus entrusted His people with the Gospel and a section of those who call themselves His People have turned the Gospel into a farce.
    Is this really what the endtimes church is going to be?.

  • saintmark

    I am offended by the term ‘bent asparagus’ as it implies that straight asparagus is somehow superior and acceptable. Please be more inclusive in future posts and provide a ‘safe space’ within the cathedral so that I may not have to suffer the humiliation of being judged if my asparagus leans a way that is considered not truly orthodox.

    • Don’t worry if your asparagus is bent, old chap. This is an inclusive gathering that celebrates diversity. If your asparagus is white it will also be welcomed.

      • saintmark

        I’m sorry but my asparagus has already been diminished, nothing less than a retraction of the article, a full public apology and compensation to cover affirmation counselling will suffice.

        • len

          Asparugus has rights too.

          • Maalaistollo

            Not to mention a syndrome, commonly afflicting geeks.

          • … that would be leeks.

        • Jack is sure a full apology will be forthcoming forthwith, along with compensation to cover personal trauma.

  • Asparagus is a diuretic …. otherwise known as taking the piss.

  • magnolia

    Memo to Anglican Church: don’t compete with the BBC. The actual “Teletubbies” has higher production values and more money spent on it. And they do 4 different colours too……If TV does it better DON’T COMPETE. There is plenty TV cannot touch.

    Just do God. Or better, let God do God through you.

  • Anna

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
    What shocking lack of reverence for God! When the church loses her fear of God, she loses all insight and understanding into His ways. The recent pronouncements of some COE leaders show how much they need the eye salve that Christ recommended for the Laodicean church.

  • John

    Veggietales have finally been received into the Anglican Communion. I look forward to the launching of a fresh expression called ‘Silly Evensongs with Larry.’

    • magnolia

      I think, technically, that guy dressed up as a piece of bent/straight asparagus comes under the heading of “fresh extension”!

      • Merchantman

        If you are an ambitious C of E cleric could now use bent asparagus to make Arch- Asparagus, the tip-top Order.

  • Cressida de Nova

    “… asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and rosy pink which ran
    from their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series
    of imperceptible changes to their white feet, still stained a little by
    the soil of their garden-bed: a rainbow-loveliness that was not of this
    world. I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of
    exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, who,
    through the disguise which covered their firm and edible flesh, allowed
    me to discern in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows,
    these blue evening shades, that precious quality which I should
    recognise again when, all night long after a dinner at which I had
    partaken of them, they played (lyrical and coarse in their jesting as
    the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream) at transforming my humble chamberpot
    into a bower of aromatic perfume.”

    Marcel Proust,

    Swann’s Way

    The English should leave the adoration of the asparagus to the French.
    They do it much better !

    • magnolia

      Think I’ll stick to the Anais Anais, thanks!

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Nin shall sleep…

  • At last the CoE has finally corrected 2000 years of oversight by including a man dressed as a vegetable in the liturgy. Bravo.

    • Praise be … vegaphobia is being overcome.

      • The next hurdle is elevating women to the asparapiscopate.

        • This could lead one to despairagus in the Church of England.

  • The newly revised translation of Leviticus includes the following:

    “When an asparagus resides among you in your land, do not mistreat it. The asparagus residing among you must be treated as one of you. Love them as yourself.”

    • len

      I’ve eaten mine…Gulp.

      • Stay near a loo ….

      • Royinsouthwest

        Are you a cannibal?

  • Inspector General

    It’s a form of harvest festival, is it not!

    And it helps some people get to remind themselves what the inside of a church is like.

    It’s origins go back to a time when the local church was intricately tied up with the people it served. When thanks would be given for a good harvest (or in this case, a mediocre one). A God harvest if you like. You can see where the word ‘good’ came from. A time when in particularly foul weather, flocks would be rounded up and led into the church for safety. When Cromwell stabled his horses in Gloucester Cathedral, he wasn’t insulting the place. He was merely looking after his essential horses best way he could, in no finer accommodation, as men had done before.

    Here we also have a man dressed as St George. As men would have dressed as St George in church for centuries previous. You can bet such pantomime, and that is not to disparage the word – that is exactly what it is – would have featured a man in a dragon’s outfit too once. Today it’s Asparagus personified. Who’s laughing at that? A smile maybe. Yes, you can smile in church, you know!

    Have we become so sophisticate that we now rubbish this doing? Has the inside of a church become too grand for this now? Do we need to give thanks for a crop when everybody knows food comes from supermarkets. Not out of the ground a few hundred yards from a church?

    Cold hearted Protestantism has a lot to answer for…

  • Inspector General

    “ear #hignfy @haveigotnews,
    You’ve got to. Really. You’ve absolutely just got to.. http://archbishopcranmer.com/elevation-blessed-asparagus-church-england-pantomime/ … (cc @PrivateEyeNews)”

    “I saw yer!”

    What in God’s name is wrong with you today, sir!

    That list reads like a charge sheet, although Private Eye has some redeeming features…

    {SNORT!}

    • You Judas Asparagus, you.

      You’ve bean had so lettuce pray for you.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Lettuce spray, please. (According to Basil Brush.)

  • Maalaistollo

    Does anyone know whether the music at the ‘service’ included the Latin antiphon Asperges Me? If it didn’t, it ought to have, only to keep Jack Happy.

  • Gordon Tough

    Almost as absurd as a king riding in triumph into a city on a donkey.

    • Merchantman

      They stopped making Triumphs so The Queen arrives in a Bentley.

      • David

        Triumphs are excellent cars, that’s why I have two of them, both 40 years old.

        • chefofsinners

          Amen. Mine is a joyful thing. In summer. However, I believe the CoE currently favours American sports cars, such as the courgette.

          • Maalaistollo

            Might this exchange be reaching its Nader if I ask if that is the one that is unsafe as any seed?

        • Maalaistollo

          And mine is 64 years old. Hasn’t been out of the garage for 10 years, mind.

          • David

            It will be getting claustrophobic then. So time for a recommissioning ? Cars are for driving !

    • Mark Gordon

      Brilliant. Then I will hear the Xtian apologists saying “but that is what he intended” and “for it was written in the scriptues”…

      Interesting that not one single contemporary account of that triumphant ride was recorded.

      • Anna

        Actually there are four contemporary accounts –

        Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

        • James60498 .

          Anna. I gave you an uptick but then withdrew it.

          If I thought that these people were as thick as they appear then the uptick would be for educating them.

          As it is, it’s probably best just to ignore them.

        • Sarky

          Contemporary – living or occurring at the same time.
          “the event was recorded by a contemporary historian”

          As the gospels were written a minimum of 40 years after the event, i don’t think they count as contemporary.

          • Anna

            Two of the gospel accounts were written by men who were contemporaries of Jesus and paid a heavy price for their testimony; the other 2 do not vary in any significant detail from these.

          • Sarky

            Then please explain:-
            -why wait 40 years?
            -at a time when male life expectancy was 27, the disciples would have to have been writing in their 60’s, how?

            The evidence would suggest that the gospels were not in fact written by the disciples themselves and therfore not contemporary.

          • Brian Kelly

            The Gospel was being repeated and taught from the VERY beginning – orally in a culture that communicated by word of mouth. What do you think the Apostles were doing from Pentecost AD 30 onwards? And it is ABSOLUTE RUBBISH to say male life expectancy then was 27! You don’t understand simple demography. But let me explain: in a world of high infant and childhood mortality the AVERAGE lifespan of EVERYONE might have been c. 30 – but if you survived until you were 20, you would probably live until you were 50, 60 or 70.

          • Sarky

            So why were the gospels written in greek and not in the tongue of the people who supposedly met and followed jesus?

          • Darter Noster

            Because Greek was the lingua Franca of the Eastern Mediterranean and had been for centuries before Jesus came along. We have very few surviving contemporary accounts of any of the events of the early first century AD – Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio all wrote years after the events they describe. Josephus wrote in the late 1st century and mentions Jesus only in passing, as does Tacitus. Jesus and Christians scarcely registered on the conscience of the Roman elite for whom these historians were writing, until well into the 2nd century, except when Nero decided this obscure Jewish sect (how the Romans thought of them) were convenient scapegoats.

          • Darter Noster

            Addendum:

            St Paul is the earliest surviving Christian writer. The accepted authentic Pauline letters (Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthian, Galatians,
            Philippians,
            First Thessalonians, Philemon) must have been written 20-30 years (maybe less) after the Crucifixion, by someone who personally met the Apostles and was alive and in the area at the time. By the standards applied to all other aspects of testimony from the ancient world, that is remarkable proximity; much more than we routinely take for granted when talking about accounts of Roman emperors, for example.

          • Pubcrawler

            Addendum to your addendum: the earliest extant manuscripts of both Testaments are far, far older and closer to the time of original composition than the earliest extant manuscripts for the bulk of Classical literature.

          • Sarky

            Matthew 27:52.

            Are you trying to tell me that people coming back from the dead wouldn’t even cause a ripple?

            Prehaps the romans ignored it all because it didn’t happen.

          • Busy Mum

            Matthew tells us that the chief priests and the Pharisees requested Pilate that a watch be set over the sepulchre as they were worried the disciples would come and steal the body of Jesus in order to persuade people that He had risen from the dead. Pilate acceded to their request.
            Despite the Roman soldiers on guard and therefore the impossibility of deceitful behaviour on the part of the disciples, Jesus rose again. This greatly disturbed the chief priests, who then bribed the soldiers to say that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus whilst they were asleep.

            Do you know the punishment for Roman soldiers who fell asleep whilst they were on sentry duty? Yet they took the money, and were willing to lie about having slept on duty, and still escaped with their lives.
            Who was the Roman governor? Pilate. Having been greatly shaken by his inner convictions, and wife’s warnings, during the trial, and presumably with a very heavy heart at having presided over what he knew was a great miscarriage of justice, he must have hit rock bottom when he then heard that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. So it’s hardly surprising that he was willing to overlook the soldiers’ apparent sleepiness rather than admit this further proof that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. A huge cover-up.

          • Sarky

            Absolutely nothing to do with what i was saying.

          • Busy Mum

            Yes it was. You said the Romans may have ignored it all because ‘it didn’t happen.’ I was explaining why the Romans would have ignored it, or rather, hushed it up.

          • Busy Mum

            I just accepted correction from RoyInSW – apologies.

          • Sarky

            No probs.

          • Royinsouthwest

            In fairness to Sarky your reply makes it look as if you have not actually read the verse that he asked about; Matthew 27:52. That verse refers to events immediately after the death of Christ and the rending of the veil in the Temple. It refers to the dead being raised but it does not mean Jesus. In the New International Version verse 52 says:

            and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

          • Busy Mum

            You are correct – and I apologise – hopefully Sarky will see this.

            Though looking at the relevant verses again, KJV, it says the ‘bodies of the saints…..appeared unto many’. So it wasn’t a general appearance – not everybody saw them. In the same way I suppose, that Jesus only showed Himself to certain people after He had risen.

          • Darter Noster

            “Are you trying to tell me that people coming back from the dead wouldn’t even cause a ripple?”

            Yes and no. Yes, for exactly the same reason that claims of weird and bizarre supernatural events don’t attract attention today; how much serious attention did you pay to the recent stories of a black cube spotted over Texas that could be the gateway to another dimension? If you saw it at all, you’d chuckle, dismiss it instantly as a load of cobblers and get on with something more important. That is exactly what most Romans would have done, in the extremely unlikely event they even heard about the claimed Resurrection at the time.

            That said, clearly it did cause major local ripples, because within a very short time, as documented by Acts and the letters of Paul, the local authorities were harshly persecuting those who claimed to be the followers of an executed traitor returned from the dead, and that prohibition spread gradually across the Empire. David Koresh and his followers attracted no attention whatsoever when they claimed he was the son of God, but when they started gathering weapons and preparing for acpocalypse they became a threat, and then they gained a very different sort of attention very quickly.

          • Pubcrawler

            Bilingualism may be an exotic concept to the English, but for most cultures it’s the norm. Knowledge of Koine, whether as a first or second language, was as widespread (and as desirable for anyone who wanted to get on in the world) in the eastern Mediterranean then as English is now globally.

          • Sarky

            Dont buy it. I could understand the higher classes or priests knowing greek, but fishermen?

          • CliveM

            Don’t be such a snob Sarky!

            Years ago I traveled in the back of a truck around Morocco. Everyone I met could speak two languages, never mind how menial. A high proportion could speak three.

          • Cressida de Nova

            There’s a movie in here somewhere!

          • CliveM

            It was fun and fortunately my school boy french was up to buying all the food and drink (including beer), that I wanted. The only time I was concerned was when a drunk Irishman in our group shouted “shut the f@#k up” from our Hotel window, during an early morning call to prayer!

          • Royinsouthwest

            Even a drunken Irishman would not dare to do that today!

          • CliveM

            Even back then I thought it a little unwise.

          • Pubcrawler

            They weren’t all fishermen, of course. Matthew was a public official so of course would have spoken Greek; Luke was a doctor, ditto. Greek had been pervasive at all levels of society in the area for three centuries, it’s extremely unlikely that even the lowest wouldn’t have at least a smattering if they wanted to get by at all.

            And again: the New Testament texts were written for what had become a largely Gentile and/or Jewish Diaspora church in all parts of the Empire. Greek is the obvious choice for language of composition.

            Bilingualism is not a rare phenomenon or the preserve of the powerful.

          • Brian Kelly

            We don’t know that early versions were *not written in Aramaic; Hippolytus claimed Matthew originally came out in a “Hebrew” version. Very few writings in Aramaic from the first century are extant (remember that 99% of ancient writings have not survived). Greek was the lingua franca of the eastern Med and even in a lot of Italy. The gospels were written in Greek to communicate widely in the Empire. In the first century more Jews used Greek than Aramaic, and even in Palestine Greek was very widely used – a bit like English in India today.

          • Sarky

            But the language and writings of the time were mainly hebrew.
            The dead see scrolls were written in hebrew werent they??
            The earliest greek writings were 400 years later.

          • CliveM

            Written by, is not necessarily the same as “written ” by. My understanding is that they were probably dictated.

          • Sarky

            Lost in translation maybe?

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes: Paul occasionally draws attention to the fact that he is writing the sphragis, at least, with hiis own hand. So it’s unusual.

          • CliveM

            Yes I’d forgotten Paul had said that. Again Paul would have been well educated.

          • Pubcrawler

            “But the language and writings of the time were mainly hebrew.”

            Er, no. ‘Biblical’ Hebrew was a dead language at the time. The vernacular in the area was primarily Aramaic (various dialects); the writings were primarily Greek.

            “The dead see scrolls were written in hebrew werent they??”

            Some, but by no means all. So what? My copy of Homer (Greek text) was printed 30-odd years ago, but it wasn’t originally composed then.

            “The earliest greek writings were 400 years later.”

            What?!?!?!?

          • Anton

            Meet you in a pub sometime about biblical Hebrew supposedly being Temple-only in Jesus’ day….

          • Pubcrawler

            I was keeping it simple for him…

          • Anton

            I say, I say, I say… are the writings of the Magisterium the Dead See Scrolls?

          • Pubcrawler

            I did wonder that, yes.

          • Anna

            They did not necessarily wait 40 years. The gospel was taught in churches, and possibly recorded. However the accounts available with us were dated to that period.

            Coming to the male life expectancy, it was low because of the high infant mortality rates in those periods. Surely you do not believe that the average male, who had survived infancy died by the age of 27? It has been suggested that the average person who survived early childhood illnesses in those days enjoyed better health than the average person today.

      • Darter Noster

        For all we know it might have been, just not by anyone whose account survived. The vast majority of written works from the period have disappeared without trace. We know about some lost works from references in surviving authors; most have just vanished. We know Pontius Pilate, one of very few contemporary Romans for whom the life of Jesus had any immediate significance

    • carl jacobs

      As absurd as a King being crucified for the atonement of sins. Who would have thought? But then the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.

      In the meantime, you might explain the Theology behind the Triumphal entry. You know, so at least we know you understand it.

  • Maalaistollo

    It has just dawned on me that this may be the C of E’s response to the Religion of Peas.

    • Will the Dean get a rise in celery?

      • Merchantman

        Fed up with your artichokes.

        • It’s cereal. It was ingrained in Jack from a young age.

          • Merchantman

            Don’t worry the Dean’s was mangleworzled at Theological College like the rest of them.

          • Keep Worzel’s mangles out of this …

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Lettuce pray….

        • chefofsinners

          Asparagus: a tipping point for the CoE.

        • layreader

          The peas and cod. Which passeth all understanding.

    • John

      Lettuce pray.

  • chefofsinners

    What’s really going on in this picture?
    London marathon runners take wrong turn?
    Dean ‘stalked’ by asparagus?
    Same sex wedding of St George and long time partner, Holger, preceded down the aisle by Sir Elton John playing The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba on homemade panpipes?

  • carl jacobs

    Join me in the fight to Liberate the Oppressed!

    • Is it the right thyme for this?

      • Royinsouthwest

        Only a sage could possibly answer that question.

        • One married to Rosemary?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Probably. I think that couple lives in the US, in a state called Oregano, or something like that.

          • Thought it was Caulifornia.

    • IanCad

      Prince Charles needs to see that video.

  • Brian J. Capper

    Costume St. George is there because the asparagus season starts on St. George’s day (asparagus contains dimethyl sulfide, which can cause bad breath, perhaps one of his dragon’s alienating problems?) But, seriously, the costume man in foliage is the Green Man, a pagan figure often related to vegetative deities, i.e. a pagan symbol of rebirth in the new growth of each spring. So here, once more, we witness the somewhat clandestine pagan/occult invasion of Anglican holy space.

    • Brian Kelly

      And I thought it meant the C of E could embrace both UKIP and the Greens!
      Good to see your name popping up here with suitably recondite comment. Must get in touch soon.

      • Brian J. Capper

        🙂

    • Inspector General

      Not a problem. The pagans acknowledged a higher power, but without guidance, they believed whatever. Another not a problem is Christianity usurping what was pagan. It just isn’t.

      • Brian J. Capper

        My comment suggests that this is, rather, the pagan usurping the Christian.

        • Inspector General

          One rather thinks that you learnt to piss in a pot as a child before others here. That does not make pissing into a pot yours, and yours alone.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Your Grace asks, “Would the Dean really permit a walking fungus to participate in an act of divine worship?” Apparently, yes: especially if it’s hallucinogenic.

    • Not mushroom for doubt on that.

    • Mark Gordon

      John Allegro comes to mind. Google him.

      • betteroffoutofit

        Did so, thank you! I see he died at Sandbach: so near to the crosses. Visited them my very self, I did, back in the ’50s.

        As for the mushies – one suspects that certain research into physical/spiritual interface and resonance also resorts to, or investigates, the effects quite seriously. Fairy nuff, after all, in light of medieval visionary scripts.

        So now I must away to the Dead Sea Scrolls ….

  • len

    Basic message the Dean is giving out is “look at us, we are idiots”
    Why should anyone take whatever they say or do seriously after this daft pantomime?.

    • Mike Stallard

      Let us bring Jesus into this shall we?

      • Sarky

        Dressed as what?

        • Pubcrawler

          Lamb, obviously.

    • Inspector General

      You’re not even in the Church of England…

      • len

        No, the church I belong to is a lot bigger than that.

  • Mike Stallard

    Well now. What about the Kiddies’ Search for Easter Eggies on Easter Holiday Sunday? Or the Messy Church celebrations on Sunday mornings in place of Mattins?

    • Maalaistollo

      Good point! The failure to de-paganise Christmas and Easter has allowed the original rites to overtake the Christian festivals that were superimposed on them. Oliver Cromwell understood the danger.

      • Mike Stallard

        Allow me to elaborate, shall I? Hallowe’en, St Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, St George’s Day are all festivals of the Sacred Tesco – warmly encouraged and materialised. A lot of Church services which were once natural, part of the community, have now morphed into Kiddies’ Services suitable for the Minister perhaps, but not many other people.

  • Inspector General

    This is a mad place tonight. Christians, look away…

    • Feeling meloncholy?

      • Royinsouthwest

        The Inspector is often a bit fruity.

  • chefofsinners

    It’s not my fault. I suffer from Asparagus syndrome.

    • Does this mean you will be a vegetable for the rest of your life?

      • chefofsinners

        Jewish people have fled Worcester and travelled to the four corners of the world. It’s the diasporagus.

        • Jesus informed His disciple: Be like: A-sparrow-Gus.

  • Brian Kelly

    Idiots! The service is called ‘ASPERGES’, not ASPARAGUS!
    (Actually the French for ‘asparagus’ *is ‘asperges’ so I suspect this is really a Remainer statement in support of the CAP.)

    • Dominic Stockford

      Exactly. The CofE apes Rome so often, and so often demonstrates that it doesn’t understand what it is copying.

  • magnolia

    Anyone for antidisasparagusism? Inspector?

    • chefofsinners

      “Are you not worth many sparras?”

  • chefofsinners

    The following version of the 23rd Psalm to be sung as the asparagus is processed to the altar:

    My table thou hast furnished
    In presence of bistros;
    My head thou dost with a nob of butter anoint
    And my cup overflows.

    Yea, though I walk in Evesham’s dark vale,
    Yet will I eat my fill:
    For thou art with me, and thy rod
    And stalk me comfort still.

    Goodness and high nutritional content all my life
    Shall surely follow me;
    And in God’s greenhouse for evermore
    My dwelling-place shall be.

  • mopsus

    I notice a visiting choir is in residence. As someone who sings regularly in visiting choirs, I often suspect that we are asked to sing the services that the Cathedral choir think are beneath them.

  • Jill
  • Pubcrawler

    Enough with the vegetables. It’s time for the Dessert Fathers.

    • Did you know that the Diet of Worms forbade giving Angels delight to desserters.

      [stressed backwards spells desserts]

      • Pubcrawler

        The early bird gets the Diet of Worms, it is said. But who wants to eat worms?

  • Ben Tenther

    Archibald and Junior Asparagus do more to bring me closer to God than this.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Suggested aid to contemplation for the Clergy at Worcester (who should consider humbling themselves to consider the Holy Text in English ….)
    PSALM 51
    1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
    2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
    3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
    4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
    5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
    7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
    9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
    10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
    11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
    12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
    13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
    14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
    15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
    16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
    17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (PS 51: 1-17)

  • Father David

    Next you’ll be telling me that folk will be sticking candles in oranges and surrounding the fruit with a red ribbon and sticking four cocktail sticks into them containing nuts and raisins? I’m not sure but I think this ancient custom may have something to do with sputniks?
    Anyway, I quite like asparagus – makes the pee smell though, so they tell me!

    • Royinsouthwest

      Sputniks? What have the Russians got to do with it? Has Putin, or the Russian Orthodox Church, hacked into the Church of England’s computers?

    • At least the Christingle tries to teach theology (although how ‘ancient’ it is in its current/currant form is debatable), and they aren’t processed up the aisle during the Eucharist by a man dressed as an orange…

      • Dominic Stockford

        Why did you say that? You’ve given them ideas. We now know the pictures we’ll be viewing later this year….

    • Dominic Stockford

      Asparagus – if you’re on Warfarin you need to keep your intake low.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Is that why Warfarin is bad for rats? Do they eat too much asparagus?

        • Dominic Stockford

          “Youse callin’ me a dirdy rat?”

          It gives them internal bleeding. Think of a joke. Put it here.

  • Skidger

    Could they try cauliflowers, as they haven’t done particularly well this year. An organisation is only as good as those that run it, this ludicrous stunt speaks volumes.

    • Paul Greenwood

      No doubt this is a “sponsored cathedral” with its own financial deficit

  • Paul Greenwood

    I recall the Cathedral in Coventry blessing a Motor Car which seemed to be Pagan in itself.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Many years ago, in the utterly compromised Free Church of England, a genuinely Reformed man who had become bishop was ‘allowed’ by the Bishop Primus to ‘bless’ a garden bench. This was the only specifically episcopal act that he was ever asked to do. His remarks at the time were spot on, too clever for those of his ecclesiastical enemies present to notice, and made pretty much your point.

  • Holger

    What’s the objective difference between elevating a bunch of asparagus and a baked wafer? Both are foodstuffs, after all.

    Something tells me this asparagus pantomime has raised hackles because it’s too close to the bone. The ridiculousness of worshipping a dry wafer is brought into sharper focus when a dog penis-shaped vegetable is substituted for it.

    Perhaps if they’d been worshipping an aubergine, or even a courgette, the reaction would be less virulent. But asparagus is just an attack on the messiah’s manhood, isn’t it? Who can take a pencil-dicked prophet seriously?

    Apparently not the fake archbishop.

    • Calmeilles

      At least the wafer has a theological rational — not one I ascribe to, but it’s there.

      The asparagus seems to be a proxy for commerce. Oh, it can be skewed to suggest the good of the land, the good of the people and the Lord providing… But it’s still money-making in the temple.

      Where should the boundaries lie? This may seem very far from the Orthodox Bishop blessing missiles that was (mis)reported 18 months ago, but it’s pointing in the same direction and that may be what raises hackles.

      • Holger

        Actually, I’m told the asparagus crop is a bit wonky in Britain this year, so there are spears pointing in all directions. Is this a case of god using horticulture as a metaphor for the sad state of division that currently besets the English part of his church?

        I just checked out the asparagus on offer at my local market in Paris and both white and green varieties are straight and true. There’s no hint of wonk at all. Whatever’s troubling your English vegetables certainly hasn’t crossed the Channel. God must be satisfied with his French devotees then, which would make sense when you consider that the only French who still take part in the charade of Christianity are all bigots and homophobes and therefore assured of divine salvation. The Manif pour tous’s asparagus is as straight as a die. There are no kinks in Boutin’s resolve to send us all to concentration camps.

        Whether it’s a wafer or a vegetable however, at the end of rhe day it’s merely a foodstuff. What real difference is there between “give us this day our daily bread” and “give us this day our daily greens”? Perhaps the clue lies in the man-made nature of baked goods and wine. It makes sense that a god created by humans would use the products of human industry as metaphors for his flesh and blood. Without our intervention there can be no communion. We literally make god.

        Is this why you never meet Christian teetotal raw food vegans? They must all be busy worshipping a nature god rather than one who proceeds from the bakery and the fermenting vat.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Maybe you should think about Scripture and “bread” having significance in the name Bethlehem and in the “breaking of bread” and the culture in the Middle East of “bread” which is somewhat more fundamental than in the sorry state of Western society. If you had any scriptural foundation you would not make such fatuous statements

          http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/bread-bread-of-presence.html

          • Holger

            Middle Eastern social norms of 2000 years ago are of little interest to me. I don’t live in the Middle East 2000 years ago, you see. And unless you’re accessing the Internet across a rift in time and space, neither do you.

            The question is therefore why do you believe the habits of a pre-industrial pastoral society with a patriarchal and homophobic social structure apply to world of today? Why does the religion of goatherds have any relevance for our society? Why should the ceremony they dreamed up involving the deification of their staple foods – which are no longer our staple foods, or at least not for many of us – hold any significance for today’s society?

          • Paul Greenwood

            So create your own religion, but I see you have. It is not the one that Cranmer runs a blog to discuss however. What happened 2000 years ago is central to the reason why Cranmer was burned at the stake on Broad Street and Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg 500 years ago.

            That these matters do not interest you suggests you are on the wrong blog altogether

          • Holger

            I have no need for a religion, thank you. Religions are for those who can’t cope with reality.

            And I think I’m on exactly the right blog. Someone has to remind those who stumble on this place that the religious cranks who post here are out of their tiny minds.

  • michaelkx

    well it beats telling about Jesus and how he died for the sin’s of man kind.

    • Sarky

      People kind please.

      • That’s bestephobic. Stop excluding other sentient beings. It’s now earth creatures.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Mankind needs better than this, and even those only pretending to be Christian should be able to do better than this.

  • Sarky

    Well its made the daily mail and references this blog!!!
    Someone has pointed out the vicar looks like Jamie oliver!! Prehaps he’ll be cooking up gus the asparagus man after the service.!!

  • Phil Warburton

    Who is the guy in the weird dress at the front supposed to be?

  • Amani Sc

    Here are some questions.
    How many people attended the service? Is this more or less than usual? What actually happened in the service? What was the teaching on? Did those leaving the service have more of a knowledge of God and hi Word before they left? Instead of tearing each other down should we not use the platform of the Telegraph to give people more of God’s Word and Will?

    • Dominic Stockford

      One word ‘dignity’. Missing completely.
      Another word ‘worship’. Who of? The Lord Jesus Christ, no asparagus. Thus this is utterly unsuitable.

      We should not simply grab hold of any possible prop and claim that it helps, we should present Jesus Christ without such worldly idiocy.

  • bluedog

    One worries about the person of colour following the vegetables, Your Grace. Is this yet another example of white cultural insensitivity? You would think that in this day and age the CoE would know better than to permit ‘greening-up’ or putting on Green Face. One trusts that the Bishop of Worcester will be severely reprimanded for this transgression, if nothing else.

    • magnolia

      Is bluedog in a position to raise this? Or is it OK to blue-up dogs? Do you use a natural product, like woad? Or just raid the Quink ink?

      • bluedog

        An excellent question, Magnolia. As a dog of colour, one can confirm being born this way and it is not a matter of choice.

        • Any little blue puppy dogs, yet?

        • Busy Mum

          But maybe your colour was just assigned to you at birth, on the basis of what your parents and the midwife saw? Maybe you have been living a life of confusion. Just because you are blue on the outside doesn’t mean you are really and truly blue on the inside. Please do start questioning your colour so that you can escape the awful oppression imposed upon you by your parents and the midwife, who never even gave you a say in the matter.

          • bluedog

            So true. One didn’t ask to be born, one didn’t chose one’s name, let alone one’s parents and one’s estate. So much is imposed and one wonders if what one thinks is blue is an experience shared by others and recognised as blue by them. What if one is actually black? Given the close association as in ‘black and blue’ it seems not impossible that one may be black. However one knows enough to recoil from any suggestion that one is indeed blackdog personified.

  • len

    Just having straight asparagus is not quite the done thing.
    We need all shapes and sizes of asparagus to make this thing fair.Some asparagus want to point in an entirely different direction from the main crop of asparagus, this practice must be not only acceptable but enforced upon the main crop of asparagus.

    Some asparagus are not happy with being an asparagus and prefer to be recognised as cucumbers.This must be accepted by all other vegetables as this is their right.
    Eventually all vegetables will be able to ‘self identify ‘ as to whatever vegetables they wish.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Asparagus man is sexism. Why on earth did the CofE fall for that error – with all their equality advisors this has slipped through the net….

      • Royinsouthwest

        Surely there should be 57 genders of asparagus?

        • magnolia

          All to be found in different tins. How prescient of Heinz to realize that in advance.

    • Merchantman

      Absolutely, however I would maintain its impossible for an asparagus to become female, if it looks in part like a man, it must be a man.

  • But is is akin to harvest festival, though, however much you may not wish to accept that. Giving thanks to God for the firstfruits is a Christian tradition firmly embedded in Scripture itself.

    As for dressing up, well, yes, the bloke at the front in a dress does look a bit silly. But everything that happens in a cathedral is for show. It’s all about the pomp and ceremony and the pageant. There’s no essential difference between this, or one of those twee pet-blessing services, and a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Or, as others have already mentioned, messy church, or an Easter egg hunt. It is using the building it its role at the heart of the community, something that the church should never shrink from being.

    Anyway, lay off Gus, he’s a friend of mine.

    • Dominic Stockford

      This isn’t ‘pomp and ceremony’, this is supposed to be dignified and sacred worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. A man in an asparagus suit has no place to play in such a thing, ever.

      • “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”

        • magnolia

          I thought it was artichokes that have hearts…

      • “A man in an asparagus suit has no place to play in such a thing, ever.”

        Not a sentence I ever expected to hear in relation to a church service…

        • Anton

          Neither did I ever expect to hear the quran in a church service…

    • IanCad

      What with IG’s comment of yesterday, and now yours, I’m becoming much less critical of the service. But Please! Get rid of the green man; Pagan through and through.

      • There’s nothing pagan about being green per se. I have seen clerics garbed in green. The choice of colour in this case is merely to refllect the nature of that which is being celebrated.

        Time for a quote from one of my favourite songs:

        “Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
        Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
        Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
        Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise”

        (Apologies for the spelling of ‘color’, but blame the Atlantic for that).

        • Merchantman

          This proves the C of E may look green but its not cabbagey looking.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Oh! I thought it WAS only cabbage looking!!! [Even a tad Krautish]

        • magnolia

          Forgive me, but could you provide a transcript for the meaning of one of your favourite songs, as I cannot make the syntax out at all? It is very confusing and wooly as to subjects, objects, subordinate clauses, poetics and theology to me. Should “works of your hands” be left without inverted commas. Is it us, or sticks of asparagus? How does the tenderness go if we are about to eat them? How many suns are rising? Why is sun in the plural at all? Why did the writer eschew imagery and go straight for vague personification. It all sounds a bit revamped paganism to me. I have to say I prefer:

          “And the horned moon by night,
          ‘Mid her spangled sisters bright.” (John Milton)

          which says similar stuff, but rather faster and packing an immense punch, being poetry.

          • Do your own homework!

          • magnolia

            You deserve better written songs/hymns. Writer’s talent/s lie elsewhere.

      • CliveM

        Agree with you. I now think that only the fancy dress is a real problem. And even then, not for theological reasons.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Handel’s Messiah is a splendid presentation of the Gospel. Haven’t you ever listened to or read the lyrics?

      http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/messiah.htm

  • Dominic Stockford

    Even the St George figure is beyond sensible *in such a procession*. But the green man is bonkers, and just goes to show how much the CofE have lost any understanding of the dignity of worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Richard Harrold

      To be fair, the green man is probably authentic to medieval religio-culinary rituals!

      • Dominic Stockford

        Whatever, the CofE are certainly in the soup over this.

  • Kevin Curtis

    Well, the CofE allows women to pretend to be deacons, presbyters, and bishops, why not allow someone to pretend to be a stalk of asparagus?

    • Anton

      Better, why not elect a stalk of asparagus as a bishop? Would do a better job than many…

  • paddymanning

    Straining at gnats having swallowed camels….

  • Jack wants to know why “Asparamancer” was not permitted to do her thing, toss asparagus into the air, letting it fall to the floor to reveal the future. Once the woody stalks appear she begins her ‘ferning’. And where was the “Aparagus Princess”?

    Next up for the Cathedral is a blessing of local plums to mark the start of plum festival with characters such as “Plum Princess”, “Prunella Plum” and “Queen Victoria”. Not forgetting the “Plum Charmer” who serenades the plum trees with his clarinet to encourage their production of the fruit.

    Asparagus and plums, tossing and fertilising … all in the best possible taste.

    • len

      Think you’re starting to get the idea now Jack,
      How about Morris dancers doing’ the plum dance ‘perhaps …Or would that be too much?.

    • Why not the Asparamancer? Well, quite possibly because the Dean does actually know the difference between something that is a bit of harmless fun and something that is inimical to Christianity, and is happy to permit the former in his cathedral but not the latter.

      There is no Asparagus Princess. There is (sometimes) an Asparafairy, but the person who created the character retired a few years ago and the role has not been regularly played again since.

      • Apologies for confusing princesses with fairies – an easy mistake to make in this day and age.

        Any plans yet for the blessing of plums, or hasn’t the tourist office been in touch yet? Some idea of who might participate in this farcical pantomime reverent service of thanksgiving to God would be good. Do keep us informed of future events.

        • The CofE has long had a close relationship with the sugar plum fairies. It needs no help from the tourist board in that respect.

    • chefofsinners

      I fear the Church of England has fallen into a permanent vegetative state.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The CofE have got themselves into the soup over this – or is it the hot water? Whatever, I doubt they will be able to get out of the frying pan without landing in the fire…

  • Manfarang

    The Cajun holy trinity, or holy trinity of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana. The preparation of Cajun/Creole dishes such as étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from this base.
    Variants use garlic, parsley, or shallots in addition to the three trinity ingredients.

    • chefofsinners

      The CoE has its own unholy trinity of vegetables: the Dean of Worcester, Martyn Percy and Giles Fraser.
      These three impart the characteristic flavour of rotting rhubarb, with a sour aftertaste.

      • len

        Give off lots of wind as well.

      • Merchantman

        I couldn’t give a fig what odor they exude but I do know figs ain’t what they used to be with them around.

    • IanCad

      Where’s the okra? No gumbo without it.

  • Gregory-Francis Desmarais

    Perhaps the honorable Dean of Worcester will consider a festive Evensong in honor of the apple harvest – with the apples being brought forth in procession by Eve, clothed only with a fig leaf!! Would you be one to accept an apple from her bountiful basket?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Adam and Eve could have said that they only picked the forbidden fruit because they intended holding a thanks giving service for it.

    • Sybaseguru

      Depends where the fig leaf was positioned

  • Father David

    Doesn’t the Benedicite say
    “O all ye Green Things upon earth, bless ye the Lord: praise him and magnify him for ever”?

    • magnolia

      May all Green Things, and Old Beans, and Cousin It, also. praise and bless the Lord. May they be blessed in their rising and their sitting also (How does that Green Thing sit incidentally? Is that what you had in mind?

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Benedicite may say things like that, but the Bible doesn’t.

      • Pubcrawler

        Psalm 96.12?

        • Dominic Stockford

          “let the field exult, and everything in it!”

          You could interpret it that way I guess, but not necessarily.

          Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
          96:10-13 We are to hope and pray for that time, when Christ shall reign in righteousness over all nations. He shall rule in the hearts of men, by the power of truth, and the Spirit of righteousness. His coming draws nigh; this King, this Judge standeth before the door, but he is not yet come. The Lord will accept the praises of all who seek to promote the kingdom of Christ. The sea can but roar, and how the trees of the wood can show that they rejoice we know not; but He that searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, and understands the words, the broken language of the weakest. Christ will come to judge the earth, to execute just vengeance on his enemies, and to fulfil his largest promises to his people. What then are we? Would that day be welcome to us? If this be not our case, let us now begin to prepare to meet our God, by seeking the pardon of our sins, and the renewal of our souls to holiness.

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, I was just going for the plain reading… But if you don’t like Ps 96, there’s always Ps 148, which provides the skeleton for the Benedicite.

  • Thats_news

    Why was the man carrying the asparagus wearing a suit and not dressed in 16th century vestments?

  • len

    Jamie Oliver (leading the procession) seems to be working out a new menu for the dratted asparagus?.Mmmmmm give me a moment I will think of something.

  • That whole thing looks ridiculous. But, maybe there should be a proper spring season blessing and sprinkling of Holy water for all farmers and their first produce animal, vegetable or dairy. The vicar can visit animal farms and bless the cows, lambs, pigs etc….

    • Cressida de Nova

      In many countries the priest blesses the fishing fleet.I think a blessing would suffice.

  • Father David

    Well Dominic, doesn’t King David himself write in the 23rd Psalm “He maketh me to lie down in GREEN pastures”?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Ummm, yes, and?

  • Is it not St George, St David (Daffodils, not asparagus) and St Patrick (A man curiously dressed as a clover?)

    • Dominic Stockford

      No. It isn’t.

    • Anton

      You couldn’t make it up. Truly, truly, truly, nobody would *ever* have thought of this as a parody…

  • Anton

    It is not worse than permitting Harry Potter to be filmed in a cathedral, albeit more visible.

    The photo is of course absurd. Then there’s the asparagus.

  • As the Qu’orn says: “Asparagus Akbar!”

    • Your vegetable-based puns are a well that never runs dry.

      • carl jacobs

        As a grapefruit, Jack has a natural hostility to vegetables.

        • Take a leek, Carl.

          • Anton

            Surely a pea?

          • Pubcrawler

            If you’re a pea and you know it… release a podcast

          • Anton

            Bean and gone…

          • Better on Youtubber. Saw a good one today: “I yam who I yam.” by the Yentills.

          • No, not at his age. The best he can hope for is a leek.

      • Jack herb them on the grapevine ….

      • magnolia

        He knows his onions, or noses onions. Take your pick.

  • Father David

    Isn’t that the Precentor rather than the Dean leading the procession? Didn’t he bless the carousel at the Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre a few years ago, robed and seated on a golden galloper? Jolly good, says I, we should have more fun in Christianity as an antidote to all those miserable party poppers that religion seems to attract.

  • Anton

    Where is Linus when we need him?

    • CliveM

      ?????????? Need!

      He’s been refreshingly quiet.

      • Pubcrawler

        Till someone goes and summons him…

    • Linus

      Look behind you.

      • Lienus

        That’s not an asparagus stalk.

        • Allosexuel

          ‘allo, ‘allo. ‘allo.

          Ope yoor stalk head is strait and troo.

          • Pubcrawler
          • Lienus

            Stop tantalising me or I will be rude again aboot Lord Shinkeywinkey and Cranmer will ‘ave to discipline me very strict.

          • Allosexuel

            Nooty buoy.

          • Allosexuel

            Oooo la la ….. Wot a ansome mon.

          • Lienus

            Eet is too small to tell.

          • Allosexuel

            Yoo must av uver qualités, mon cheri.

          • Lienus

            Not really.

          • Allosexuel

            Wot is dis? Trop modeste, mon cheri. I av erd yoo av a shorpe languette, witch rhymos wit mon’s baguette. Ploos, yoo tell pookies an av loots of moonies. .

        • IanCad

          Here’s how to tell what asparagus is:
          “Den, bimeby Brer Rabbit go en peep in de basket, en it seem lak it half full er green truck. He retch he han’ in, he did, an git some en put it in he mouf. Den he shet he eye en do lak he stuyin’ ’bout sump’in’. Atter w’ile he ‘low ter hisse’f, “hit look lak sparrer-grass, hit feel like sparrer-grass, hit tas’e lak sparrer-grass, en I be bless ef ’tain’t sparrer-grass.” Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus) Tales of The Old Plantation.

      • Allosexuel

        wit yoo arond it is always wise.

  • Anton

    Reminds me intensely of 1:41:40 – 1:43:10 of IF….

  • cybervicar

    THERE NOT ORGANIC!!!

  • Mjoz

    Asparagus is so much worse then the fabrication of saying a few words and “hey presto” it isn’t bread anymore… and the pox organised religion is on the world. Give me more veggies that can prove the origin of their existence than some crap, power driven, homophobic, sexist, pompous institution that celebrates human sacrifice! Go you green thing!

    • magnolia

      Yeah, let’s obliterate all the bad party-pooping fairies at the party who grouch, moan, and whinge, rudely and without distinctions and understanding, and reason, and nuance. They are surely a pox on the earth, infected, and scabrous.

      Oh, whoops ……that’s you….

      (Irony, if you do it…though I suspect not.)

    • carl jacobs

      Give me more veggies that can prove the origin of their existence…

      You’re hilarious. You can’t so much as prove your own origin let alone the origin of vegetables. Do you know why time and space and energy and matter exist? Can you tell me why there is not nothing? No.

      Quoth the hypothetical skeptic: “Well, whatever the reason, it’s got nothing to do with something called ‘god’ that’s all!”

      Of course. Everything is explainable by immanent cause because we say so. Unbelief is the beginning of the journey and not the end.

      • What came first – the fruit or the seed?

    • Pubcrawler

      Thanks for that profound and insightful contribution. Well worth setting up a Disqus profile for.

      • len

        One suspects there is only worse to come?.
        Seems lienus(new spelling or a new personaity/) has either going into multiple personalities or found a new friend?. Surley Linus doesn`t have the power to clone himself…yet?

        • Anton

          It is faintly possible at this point that Mjoz is a militant congregationalist protestant. Time will tell.

          • len

            Lienus is up- ticking himself now?…I suppose he forgot who he was there?.

          • Anton

            He can undo that. You can uptick anybody but you can downtick only yourself.

          • Lienus

            Who else is worth zee uptique? None but moi!

          • Allosexuel

            *swoon*

            Tellement magistral.

          • Allosexuel

            Ee is mon heros and veery intolligont.

          • Lol … very perceptive. He sure ain’t a Papist.

          • len

            No, there hope for him yet.

      • Lienus

        It is a pleasure. Of a kind that you cannot appreciate.

  • Anton

    I wonder if the man in green was actually a Christian, and regardless of that what he was thinking during the procession.

  • Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peas.”.

    “Peas comes from within. Do not seek (them) without.

    “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peas.”

    (Buddha)

    • carl jacobs

      Your blatant Fruitist superiority can get under the skin,Jack. I suggest you find a new raisin d’etre in life, or the vegetables you so thoughtlessly oppress will rise up and beat you to a pulp.

      • Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.
        Seeds rule!

        • carl jacobs

          You can’t impeach my testimony by means of some nonsensical applelation.

          • This is not a fruitful discussion, Carl. You are swimming against the currant and leaving Jack speachless. Were you not raisened to respect your elderberries?

      • magnolia

        May be more complex than you thought. There has not bean mushroom for any celeriac doubt that he is sage and peas-loving enough to find his loved ones radishing.

    • Anton

      Who ate all the mange-tous?

  • len

    Stuff the asparagus!.
    Now there’s an idea,perhaps a new recipe?.

  • Angelo Del’Nord

    As good as the horse mounted by St George processing down the nave of Newcastle Cathedral on St Georges’ day.

    https://twitter.com/stnicnewcastle/status/856117001546326017