Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sanctuary

As much as I identify with the Church Online, I am also a part of a brick-and-mortar faith community -- and here's our sanctuary, with its Lenten paraments.

Today I was called into last-minute duty as an assisting minister when our scheduled AM couldn't make it; our pastor was away on assignment, and one of my fellow lay ministry trainees did the preaching. (Next week I get a turn at preaching. I was initially bummed to learn that for Lent we were going to ditch the lectionary Gospel lessons and instead use the Beatitudes, but since I found out that I get to preach on "Blessed are the meek" I'm -- well, I'm geeked to talk about the meek. Especially since I'm going to blow the minds of my hearers by informing them that what they think this blessing is all about, isn't. Big hat tip, by the way, to Sarah Dylan Breuer for inspiring me with her comments on this text.)

How did our service go, led by two semi-trained professionals? Not so bad. Just a couple of Keystone Kops moments. I find that worship leadership is doing a lot to temper my inner control freak. Because:

No matter how carefully you plan worship, the service will never go exactly the way you want it to. And if you don't plan worship, it will be even more not the way you want it to go.

The more people involved in leading/assisting, the more the opportunities for messing things up.

You, personally, will mess up in some way, even if you're the only one who knows this.

Despite these facts of life, the service will still work out in the end, because it's a God thing, not your thing.

So get over yourself
.


It's hard, but I'm learning.

11 comments:

RuthRE said...

Oh, well that answers my question further down the blog. Hope the preaching goes well! I think it's possible we might need a layperson to preach some random Sunday in the next few months...maybe I'll practice writing a few...I'd like to try it.

Got the cross and props up already?
Hmm, we did all that in my church growing up, can't remember the timing of it though. We don't do it at the current one, that's okay.

I volunteered to help with readings at our Tenebrae service, wee (a solemn wee, that is)

Questing Parson said...

And it could get worst. Your list of things that could go wrong remind me of a good friend who, at his first "student appointment", during the first service, prayed the pastoral prayer and ended it by saying, "For we pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray ... Ah ... Ah ... Ah ...

JWD said...

What excellent words of wisdom about worship going wrong! I beleve I'll be quoting you for years to come!

LutheranChik said...

Ruth, I still think of myself as a writer who reads my essays aloud once in awhile in church. Although my upcoming gig might actually get me extemporaneously preaching, at least in places.

But if you have a chance to try it, go for it. It gets easier every time you do it.

QP: My big faux pas was saying "You may be seated"...and then realizing that it was a "stand-up" moment, and making them get up again.:-O Good thing it's an easy crowd.;-)

JWD: Sadly, it's hard for me to take my own advice.

LutheranChik said...

Ruth, I still think of myself as a writer who reads my essays aloud once in awhile in church. Although my upcoming gig might actually get me extemporaneously preaching, at least in places.

But if you have a chance to try it, go for it. It gets easier every time you do it.

QP: My big faux pas was saying "You may be seated"...and then realizing that it was a "stand-up" moment, and making them get up again.:-O Good thing it's an easy crowd.;-)

JWD: Sadly, it's hard for me to take my own advice.

Mata H said...

Just to make you feel better here are some actual worship faux pas that have occurred in various Lutheran circles:
1. a bishop lifts up the plate of Eucharistic wafers right into the slipstream from the large portable fan..whoooosh!
2. a pastor borrows the local Baptist church's baptistry to perform a 1st time adult baptism for an adult who requested immersion. The adult slipped; the pastor grabbed on ; his waders filled up and they both went under flailing.
3. Female intern reaches across the wide, high altar to place the wine pitcher back on its stand and dips her left breast/white alb into the full chalice of red wine.
4. Ordinand using ornate kneeler absently plays with the scrollwork, getting his finger stuck in it. Efforts to pull himself out fail, swelling the finger. Altar boys had to carry out the kneeler with his thumb in it at recessional.

There are more, but these should help...
:-) Enjoy your day.

HereISit said...

We have so many lay people assisting in our church at various times in various positions, that any kind of slip up by that person or even by the pastor is just taken in stride now. Which is healthy. After all, it isn't supposed to be a show but a worship of One who knows our hearts and knows what was "supposed" to happen, or not. Or maybe He wanted something else to happen anyway.

A few weeks ago, the lector made a comment that was hilarious and totally unexpected (having to do with his zipper, of all things) and we roared with laughter. The pastor's comment was, "This is why I love this congregation, you laugh."

The one lay-person-mistake that I found quite annoying was the time the person sang the leader part of the liturgy but used a totally different melody than the one on the page. It was hard to have a right attitude while I was supposed to be worshipping.

I really like the lay involvement. I think it gives us all a different perspective and helps us see the celebrant as human, a human who is just trying to lead us. We are not perfect on the inside, so lets not pretend to be perfect on the outside.

Rainbow Pastor said...

"It's a God thing, not your thing."

Should be pasted on the back of every altar table and on the music rack of every organ console in the world...

Amen, sister!

Rainbow Pastor said...

Forgot to add my favourite "oops" moment--the sermon had run long in an already long service. Consuming the elements after Communion, I was in a hurry, and tried to drink too fast...You guessed it, purple grape juice flowed freely down the front of my alb. And of course, the "wiping cloth" on the altar was white...

The dry cleaner had no idea what to call my alb (dress? evening gown? choir suit?). He finally settled for "robe." And got the juice stain out!

LutheranChik said...

I know of an altar committee that went on the rampage and demanded -- and got -- white wine instead of red wine after de-staining one too many purificators, altar linens, etc.

And I'm still chuckling over Mata H's story about the boob in the wine. This is something I can see myself doing...in fact, I've done it, in my civvies, in an incident involving gravy, in a restaurant setting.:-O And let's not even talk about my numerous accidental scarf-intincting episodes.:-O But if The CEO really wants me in a white alb, front and center, handling dangerously colorful beverages -- "Don't say I didn't warn you, Lord."

Verdugo said...

One more real-life worship faux pas (Lutheran chik's already heard this): I have several Korean colleagues who have all related similar incidents.... apparently, in Korean culture, any kind of public speaking usually involves lots of gestures, especially pointing or enumerating on one's fingers. But in Korean culture, the gestures don't always mean exactly what they do in our culture. In fact, the finger most often used to gesture or enumerate is-- well, the longest one. More than one Korean pastor has told me of being asked to speak at an English-speaking congregation for the first time, flipping them off repeatedly throughout the sermon, then wondering why they got all those curious looks during coffee fellowship...