Revisiting one of our Oxfordshire medieval churches the other day, I helped myself to one from a pile of Ordination Cards on the table at the back. It invited prayers for a woman called ***, who thinks that she is going to be ordained to the Diaconate later this month.
It was curiously unlike the breathless cards which used to circulate in my day. I don't think I kept any of those sent around by my contemporaries. A pity; they represent the sort of potentially significant ephemera which will not survive. They tended to give information about the ordaining bishop ... and, more importantly, lists of Saints who might intercede for the ordinand and his prospective parish. A pious and popish prayer often featured. Some theologically significant artwork. And the new address.
There was very little on ***'s card except for butterflies. There were about thirty of these (I made three attempts to count them, but ended up with a different total each time).
My wife justly complains that I am rarely at a loss for a theory about anything you might care to name, but ... 'onest injun* ... the connection between the Diaconate and Butterflies, has me stymied. I can't think of a single ...
... Ah, but Stay. A thought has just occurred to me. The beginning of a theory, indeed. Now don't hurry me.
I'm almost sure I recollect a phrase somewhere in P G Wodehouse in which the sort of chappie who flutters without commitment from girl to girl is likened to a butterfly. Is that somehow relevant?
*Is this phrase now Politically Incorrect?