I spent my first "real" Sunday in my teaching parish, the church on the country road. Having been told I would fill in where the needs were, I knew I would be serving as lay minister, intoning the Kyrie, and the psalm, leading the Prayers of the Church and assisting with Communion. This was my first opportunity to wear my new alb which I had ordered "Qwik-Ship". It came on Saturday ( which of course is better than Monday after the day it was needed). I received comments on how "nice" my alb was. Which for a moment made me chuckle since one rule some women follow is not to wear the same nice dress to more than one occasion, I am engaging in exactly the opposite practice. But it did feel thrilling to be wearing my own alb. For the last many years of serving in my home parish, we all share a collection of albs available for that purpose. Some better than others.
And I was wearing the pectoral cross I got this summer from the Moravian shop nearby which my Mom bought for me. And this felt more than a little ironic since she has not been supportive of this journey of mine. When I saw the cross while we were together this summer, she offerred to buy it for me, not knowing what its purpose would be- to be worn in worship doing the thing she can't believe I gave up a perfectly good legal career for. What if I can't pull this off?
In my teaching parish the altar space is very different to me, and then there is the credence table. The home for all things to be placed on the altar before they are, in a kind of setting of the table. In 18 years I have never had to learn or carry out this practice of "setting the table" because my home parish does not have such a place. What if I make a mess of it, or worse, what if I drop something, or it flies out of my hand. Behind the altar is a framed piece of stained glass, internally lit depicting Jesus on his knees in prayer. What if, in a Monty Python-esque scene, something flies out of my hand and crashes into Jesus?
What if fear strikes me and I canNOT sing the kyrie, or ..
And then I am also to lead the Sunday school class which is made up of only middle school boys whose typical preteen behavior I saw last week. And with the pastor out of the room, they will surely give me a run for my money. What if...
I am sure God gets tired of my "What if I stumble, what if I fall" routine.
It all turned out just fine. In fact there must be grace sufficient because it turned out better than I had hoped. Even the teaching middle school boys part.
This Sunday I am assisting again, and there is a service for healing and laying on of hands. Something else that will be new for me. And something that feels humbling.
Like hearing in homiletics that we are God speaking. We are God healing. I thought I was scared before- that is truly amazing.
Did I think about this before? Yes and no. It is a lot to wrap your mind around.
Thrilling, terrifying. And hard to imagine being anywhere else.
As for the mountain of schoolwork it is there- a looming presence. And there is the new wrinkle of 13 year old angst. She does not want me around, but now that I am not ( i.e. on Sundays while she is still in our home parish for confirmation)- she feels like things are amiss. And we are jockeying for computer time.
This will keep me humble.
SO tomorrow I am off to the parish and then their youth group is going to a corn maze. LC#2 is invited come along and I hope she will.