‘Synod’, by Bill Wallace


Synod –
    a piece of time stolen from the rest of life;
    a Law book infested, resolution dominated monument to the status quo;
    a time for living in the ‘cloud cuckoo’ land of statement,
        letter, and a world controlled by church leaders;
    an occasion when right answers are given to wrong questions
        and democracy is worshipped as deity.

Synod is
    a place where illusions are reinforced –
    for the solemn, it provides evidence that life is a machine operating on dour efficiency;
    for the passive, proof that they have no contribution to make;
    for the lively, confirmation that the rest are rather dull and dim-witted;
    for the pious, a demonstration that they alone are in touch with God.

Synod –
    the district feast
    in which clowns have been replaced by committees;
    overeating by verbal obesity
    and the celebration turned into a question.

    Now, before the insecure take umbrage
    and the machine revenge,
    let me hasten to add
    that these are the thoughts of one for whom


    because he now sees every human gathering,
    whether on church premises or not,
    as part of the age-old struggle,
    the struggle to be truly human –
        to be liberated from the chains which we make for ourselves,
        to escape from the masks which we choose to wear
        to see people and things as they really are.
            In short

Synod is
    beginning to become an act of worship in which
    resolutions become devotions,
    people become prayers,
    and the laughter of the inner child
    becomes the adult’s life force.

‘O God, help us
    with joy to see the ridiculous behind the reasonable,
    with hope to see the world bursting out of the church,
    with love to see the people taming the machine;
Then the groan in Synod
will evidence the labour of new birth
rather than the death cry of the living church
crushed by its own organization’.

One comment

  1. ” Now, before the insecure take umbrage…..” LOL, I’m not sure if the second half entirely ‘apologises’ for the first, which is brilliantly observed. I’ve never sat in on Synod, either Anglican or Presbyterian, but have been on the outskirts, as it were…there in the position of a bookseller selling books to people as they come out of meetings:in various frames of mind. And I’ve been on the receiving end of comments about these meetings…at length, usually. This poem is ‘definitely a keeper’ as someone puts it.


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