Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ecce sacerdos magnus

"Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and who was found to be just."

Bishop Swing paid his final visit to St. Spike's yesterday morning. The above was sung in Latin by the choir at his entrance. (Elgar, for you music buffs.)

As I was on point for Altar Guild, I was one busy little bee most of the weekend. We did extra setup on Saturday - hanging the frontal, sweeping the nave, defurring the Chair, and replacing all the candles - and when I arrived at seven-forty on Sunday I hit the ground running. I ended up ironing tablecloths and setting the table for the vestry luncheon before and after the 8 am service ... it was me or the rector and I figured she had other things to do. (I will suggest to whoever is doing the next one for AG to ensure early morning coverage ... another body before 9 am would have been put to use.) It was a flurry of activity but it went off well.

It was a beautiful and moving service. Two girls were baptized (bouncing with excitement, as was I) and my pal ML reaffirmed her faith. The sermon was excellent, and I was pleased to note that he did not duck the Gospel of the day, which was raining woe to those with the big religious symbols, who sit in the high places. (He admitted as how he liked the "high places" stuff.) There were numerous non-dry eyes as he bid farewell. It is truly the end of an era.

Mrs. Swing came with him, and I escorted her to the (regular) door as Himself was vesting. She seems a very pleasant person, and I will note that she did not choose herself a "place of honor". And, in one of those moments that make me see a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven, she was at the communion rail right next to the homeless guy who parks his cart-o-stuff at the back during the service.

I got enough help cleaning up that there was still coffee and goodies left after I was done, and people around, so I even got a bit of a social hour. It was a lot of time on my feet, though (the announcement period was interminable) and I was very stiff but happy. I went to the front of the church and laid my ofrenda of toy mice to the late Brigid, for removing her presence from the chair. Then I went home and ate some real food. I can almost move after a long soaky bath and a good sit.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

weekend update

I will be catching up some on the blog posts this weekend since I will have a little more time available. I acknowledge the tags by both Jennifer and Simeon, although I haven't gotten around to them yet. (Mind you, I am trying to peel my idiosyncracies down to five that I want to be public about!)

It's a beautiful day and I am happy to not be working.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Cats who Came To Church (redux)

I attended 8 am service last week and mourned Brigid all over again. She was such a part of that service that it is still strange to me to not see her there, processing in with her tail held high, or curled on a chair. I think I saved myself from sudden tearbursts by imagining Maggie in the chapel, rocketing around, knocking things off, and vocalizing.

I was more than half expecting to feel a spectral presence, much like Maya after her somewhat sudden departure. No dice on that, but after the service R. showed some of us where she was buried. (The memorial notice is laminated on the chapel door.)

I find myself checking for her when I emerge from the parking lot stairs onto the patio, especially on sunny afternoons (like last Sunday when I dropped off some food for Evensong.)

I did sense Brigid's presence last night as I was waiting for the bus on after our feed-the-homeless gig (it was a football Saturday). The cars were whizzing by with little regard for pedestrians, and I was thinking about how poor B met her demise, and then "saw" her sitting across the street on the corner of the grounds, calmly surveying the scene, queen of her domain ... and not crossing that crazy street! I was at 8 again this morning, and didn't miss her quite so much.

Julian (the other church cat) has gotten a lot friendlier, at least towards me. She walked into the sacristry as we were doing setup Friday night, greeted me when I took my break in the library yesterday, and was actually out on the patio during the main service today (I took a coffee break during the sermon, as I had heard it at 8 am) and came to me when I called.

And I am telling Maggie how good a cat she was at the Blessing, and how Nicolas keeps asking after her, but what a bad church cat she would probably be (entropists and set-up altars = not a good combo) and how glad I am to have her at home.

(Note to Preston about one of my recent comments - Christmas is still very much with us, thanks be to God.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

All creatures of our God and King ...

Today was the annual Blessing of the Animals at the church. I decided to start Maggie off right and haul her in. I was more than a little apprehensive that she would *MROWR* during the service (in a very acoustically live space). Even the normally preternaturally mellow Maya vocalized when I tried. As it turns out, she was the only cat to be blessed today, as Poor Brigid was with St. Francis (and Maya) and Julian-cat had made herself scarce.

I don't have pictures of her because the blessing was in the church and I didn't find someone to take pix beforehand (I don't like photos during worship anyway). But she behaved in an exemplary fashion. I think a small (cat-appropriate) dose of a certain anxiety medicine helped considerably. (And a seat where she couldn't see the dogs. The side pews totally rock for this.) She curled up in her carrier and didn't climb me too much when we were in line to get blessed. She was fine with the children (all of whom wanted to pet her). She was ok when I took her out of the carrier during coffee hour and carried her around. The cat-friendly contingient of the parish admired her beauty. Rector got her cat fix, which she sorely needed.

She's been complaining at me non-stop since we got home but she was good during the service so I don't mind :D.

It's been a mixed week, some progress but more roadblocks, definitely a good bit of anxiety, and some hard thinking about some things. But I really liked seeing the dogs poking their (well behaved) noses out from the pews, and going up to the rail (I didn't subject Maggie to that) and the childrens' eyes lighting up. It's a foretaste of the Peaceable Kingdom.

It's also especially poignant to me this year after losing Maya, and Brigid (who was carried in procession during the service last year), and hearing of friends' losses, and especially all the sad stories about animals and the humans who wouldn't leave them, or who got seperated from them, in the hurricanes. I'm glad she's around.