Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Part of my goals for 2008 include things like blogging more often, so I hope to have more regular updating.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Maundy Thursday 2007

It was a beautiful and moving service: footwashing, procession to the Chapel of Repose, stripping of the altar.

I was exceedingly cranky when it started. Maundy Thursday is the busiest day of the year for the Altar Guild, my back hurt like crazy, I had a headache, and I seemed to be about the only person backstage who had a clue what was going on. But as it progressed, I felt the burden of the crankiness lift. I think the collective singing during the footwashing really did it for me - hearing us sing "Ubi caritas" is heavenly. I was next to the kidlet's carpeted area, and briefly considered flopping myself down on it to let the music wash over me.

I am one of the worker bees in the parish, so I usually don't see the stripping of the altar (or hear Pange Lingua, for that matter). This year, I was in the chapel at the time the Sacrament was processed in, to catch the garments and get them out of there before the watch, so I not only got to hear the music, I was "ahead of the game" which reduced the frustration factor considerably.

My cohorts sent me off early, because I had been there early and hauled the candlesticks, etc., out like a good girl, and I decided to go sit in the chapel with Jesus. As I was sitting, the choir recessed through it, singing "Watch and Pray". Glorious.

And as I brought the last torch back in through the empty, darkened chancel, the smell of the newly buffed wood was sweet indeed.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Change of Season

Today we had the pre-Easter brass polishing session at the church. Normally during Lent most of the stuff would go back into the sacristry awaiting Maundy Thursday and Easter, but today there was a memorial service, so we put them out. The chancel had all the Easter trappings - flowers, white vestments, shiny brass (the altar cross looked especially fine). The sun was shining wonderfully, so it looked GREAT.

This is the second funeral we've had during Lent; the first one was the afternoon of Lent I and had all the trimmings - fully choral, the Bishop himself swinging a thurible, most of our assisting clergy vested in their Easter best (the deceased was one of our assisting clergy), and reception food that was outstanding even by St Spike's demanding standards. I have often been told that a funeral is an Easter liturgy, and have as a member of the altar guild dutifully hauled out the Paschal candle, etc., and stowed them afterwards, but really experienced it at that time.

Between those and the "Hymnathon" we had one Saturday, where I sang a lot of songs that have that word-beginning-with-an-A-that-Piskies-aren't-supposed-to-use-during-Lent, I haven't felt very Lenten this year. Well, there are other contributing factors - miracle babies, the weather becoming fine ... but roll on, Easter.

Palm Sunday weekend *is* a pivot for the season, but this year I got more than mental reminders that Easter is coming.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Cycle of Life

We are having a baby boomlet at St. Spike's. This takes a bit of getting used to, because for better and for worse, we haven't been much of a "family" church, and now there's stroller traffic jams in the back of the nave, and the rocking chairs are occupied by actual infants being held by mom or dad. They are all just as cute as cute can be. I am looking forward to being an auntie surrogate (indeed, I am practicing on some of the older sibs).

About two weeks ago, the baby population unexpectedly increased by one. A couple in the church, who had made it known they were interested in adopting a child, got a phone call that apparently went something like "So, we have this baby, you wanna adopt him?" Cue the cross country flights, emptying of the parish "attics" for suitable baby gear, blog entries, dad-to-be walking around with a goofy grin and a stunned expression as he holds down the home front, and a lot of *SQUEEEEE* by a lot of people around here.

I couldn't stop grinning for a week. All babies are a gift from God, but this one really seems like a miracle.

I thought I had missed some clues by being self-absorbed in my own problems, but when I saw Micah after the announcement, I said (after the congrats) "I had no idea". His response was, "Well, neither did we."

And this past week when someone heard and tried doing some discreet questioning at coffee hour about just how they got the baby, someone else responded with a big twinkle in her eye, "The stork brought him!" And I said "No way, they found him in the cabbage patch!"

So, between baby fu, the weather warming up, and all the flowering things flowering (*achoo*), I'm not feeling very Lenten this year.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Marked as Christ's Own

It's been rough around here lately. I've been in and out of the Pit, had health weirdness (I had resolved at New Year's to blog more, you see how long that has taken), and within the last week have suffered from volunteer fatigue, compassion fatigue, worry about my Maggie-cat (who had an emergency vet visit on Saturday, as I was working on catering a funeral, and came back home looking like Frankenkitty), cramps, homeless women screaming at me, hailstorms, and thunder. I got home from an errand yesterday afternoon just before the hail started again, seperated the squabbling cats, and crawled into bed to sleep.

This morning the storm had blown over and the sun was shining brightly in the living room. I had confined the kitten to the back bedroom to give poor recovering Maggie the run of the house, and Maggie was taking advantage of this by sunning herself on the ledge of my large south window in the living room. The sun was still moderately low in the east, so was glinting through the window at an angle, giving white-furred Maggie a halo. It felt like a real gift after the storm yesterday - wind, rain, hail, thunder, snow on them thar hills.

I laid down on the couch to catch the rays myself, and give Maggie her morning skritchies. It was quiet and I was very relaxed. A prayer formed in my head: "Please heal me, and give me strength, and forgive me all my iniquities." Then I felt a cross being traced on my forehead (a la Ash Wednesday) with the answer "You are marked as Christ's own forever".

I am much more at peace today, although still working on the overtired thing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Moments of Grace

Yesterday I was having an afternoon that wasn't going right. I went to the church to set up, and found the chapel chairs in disarray, so I rearranged them. I plugged in the iron but it wouldn't start, and none of the alternative linens were less wrinkled than the one I was trying to iron (per clergy request).

But when I went to the back of the church for something, I walked back up the center aisle, and about midway up it, my hands went up in the air.

It was good to feel the Presence in the midst of the Setup-Bustle and Things-Going-Wrong.

When I thought about it last night, the hymn "We are marching in the light of God" came to mind, although today's sequence ("It's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer") was pretty good as well.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Will the circle be unbroken ...

Yesterday I schlepped up to Grace Cathedral for the Investiture of the Eighth Bishop of California.

I had been considering not-going but was assured that Bishop Marc and our PB-elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, would be serving communion in the overflow seats in the basement.

It was a grand, if extremely chaotic, day. The liturgy started out with my feeling I was watching a performance on TV, but I got more involved. The sermon was astoundingly good, and as promised, the bishops (and +Nedi Rivera) showed up downstairs.

+Katharine was not wearing her bishop choir dress so she looked like another priest in a white stole. But I was hanging out waiting for her to arrive; she passed by me in the aisle. Her face has been pictured a lot.

I took communion from her, and remembered sixteen years to the day before, when Barbara Harris had visited and our ikon of Mary Magdalene had been dedicated. (The ikon got a beautiful red and white bouquet, to match the chancel flowers.) I was on the moon then, thinking of the possibilities for women.

After communion I was standing in the aisles thinking about this, and started being overcome with emotion. (I think it was also sinking in that Bill Swing wasn't our bishop any more.) Things felt new and scary. A lady (Eliza) noticed me and embraced me with "I understand". Turns out she was in Columbus (and says she almost knocked someone over getting into +Katherine's line).

(She's of my mother's generation. What they must have thought, after years of being relegated to the kitchen and the sacristry. +Nedi came by on her way out of the hall and gave Eliza a big hug. I was suitably impressed.)

It's new and scary. We live in difficult times. I don't have the optimism of twenty-nine any more. But I will remember that communion. And I will try to keep the faith like Mary Magdalene did, as Bishop Perry of North Carolina exhorted us in his fabulous sermon.

(+Katharine had a recieving line out on the labyrinth, a few yards from where I was sitting. I couldn't bring myself to join it, but admired her with fangirl love. I did thank Bishop Perry for his sermon when I encountered him at the reception.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

I heard the news today, oh boy

I was traveling yesterday, and got home at about 10 pm, so am probably the last plugged-in Episcopalian to hear of the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop.

My reaction (after "It's a girl!") was that there were some very qualified people in the running, so she must have made a big impression to be a clear favorite. Then I thought "boy, are some people going to be whining non-stop about the naughty Americans again". *eyeroll*

Micah was there and here is his account of the moment.

The expected conservative fuming has been visible on the Ship of Fools fora today. I don't want to go near the ""reasserter"" blogs. It all sounds like "Girls have cooties!" to me.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ordination Day

Blessings and congratulations to those who were ordained today, the day between the Feast of the Giving of the Book (Shavuot) and the Feast of the Giving of the Spirit (Pentecost): Karen, Micah, and others (Chris?).

Monday, May 29, 2006

Small world

Two of the people I met at the dim sum brunch for my friend Elissa go to the fab Sara's church, "St. Ned's". So of course when "How many Episcopalians are there?" came up in the context of discussing the day's Gospel at the 8 pm alt worship service last night, I of course had to repeat an old joke, "Seventeen. The rest is done with mirrors."

In other news, my trip with Elissa to Sagrada with Elissa and her fiance caused me to place an online order at San Miguel Designs - Guadalupe robe, apron, shirt, and a Day of the Dead apron. I guess I am psyching up for my trip to New Mexico (which I need to book plane for, etc.). The desire to shop makes me think that I am "snapping out of it" - I have purchased books, jewelry, clothing, AND a computer in the last week or so.

(And I got a wee Anglican rosary at Sagrada, small enough for pocket or purse, so I can clicky the beads when I'm anxious. It does seem to help.)

I've rearranged my June travel plans a bit, so I might have a chance to visit Preston before he goes back to the 'Peg. His thoughts about the other side of the fire of burnout in this post hit home for me. (In the small world, he and I know a number of the same people - indeed he was a seminarian at St. Spike's, back when I was a very occasional visitor.) Not to mention that I will finally visit the church in Davis that I literally lived across the fence from :-).