This week I’m going to start by asking you all to do some work. ‘Gosh Tansy, it’s Sunday,’ I hear you cry. ‘We don’t like to do anything on a Sunday morning.’ As is obvious by all the empty pews I face each week. And yes I did read the suggestion cards after the last parish meeting but a 24/7 service that you can all take part in when you want isn’t feasible. I’m a priest not BBC iPlayer.
The work I want you to do this morning is to picture a Viking. Well done everybody! You did a great job, now relax 🙂 Despite the established Viking community in Harold I bet that what you saw inside your mind was a cliché. You saw a man whose incredibly pale skin and long, naturally blond hair and beard make him unusual in Harold. He’s wearing a hat with horns on it and he’s holding a huge sword because he’s extremely violent and completely irrational. That’s what we visualise because that’s what we see in the media every day.
Vikings are being demonised in Harold. All of them. When only a tiny minority are fanatical about being Norse. Believing that all Vikings in Harold are blood-thirsty extremists demanding that no one so much as draws a picture of Odin is as nonsensical as believing that all curates are like our Andy whereas he’s the only curate in the Church of England to have been arrested at 2am having broken into an animal sanctuary and attempted to, as he later said in court, “be at one with the capybaras because they always look like they know stuff” following a long night in The Squirrel Lickers.
Viking culture can seem alien from ours but in everything that’s truly important there’s no difference. Vikings worry about money, raise families and wonder exactly who The One Show is supposed to appeal to just like the rest of us.
I’ve never seen a Viking like the scary one we all picture in our minds but I see plenty of ordinary Vikings in Harold who shouldn’t have to walk past graffiti like ‘Vikings smell of whales’, ‘Thor takes it up the pugwash’ and ‘Longboat, short *****’.
So let’s unite! Vikings and non-Vikings, Haroldites all! Let’s wash the hate off our walls! Meet me outside the church hall on Tuesday at 4pm for Operation: Clean Up Nasty Terms. Hard work will be rewarded with tea and biccies! 🙂
P.S The answer to last week’s catchphrase puzzle was of course ‘rimming’ which seemed to confuse a lot of you.