I don’t know if anyone else heard an item, on Radio 4 this morning, about an unusual service, held by the Rev David Parrott at the St Lawrence Church, in which the congregation were invited to have their mobile phones and ipods blessed by the incumbent.
For a fleeting moment I wondered if it was April the first, but swiftly realised the news item was genuine. The service was “ a modern twist” on a historic tradition where workers brought their ploughs to church to be blessed on the first Monday after people return to work following Christmas.
If you think this is further evidence of the loony nature of the Church, think again! Japan’s Shinto religion holds that nearly every object in the world, animate or inanimate, has a spiritual essence. Priests at the Kanda Shrine, which overlooks Akihabara—Tokyo's mecca for consumer electronics—offer prayers for the well-being of gadgets, purification rites for troublesome laptops and even produce talismans to prevent systems crashes.
As one satisfied pilgrim to the 1,270 year old shrine enthused,
“I’ve had hellish problems with my mobiles. I left one on a ride at Universal Studios, another simply died and I washed one that I left in the pocket of my favourite pants. Since the blessing, I’ve had no problems; my current mobile has been going strong for seven months.”
(I love a happy ending, don’t you?)