Recently, I had some members of my extended family come for a brief visit. On the last morning, they attended our 7:00 am Lauds and Eucharist service. I deliberately planted myself next to my 10-year-old great-nephew, figuring he might need a little “guidance” through the service. The church was quiet and still as we took our seats in the visitors’ section. The introduction to the opening hymn came floating from everywhere, as the organist surrounded us with the most beautiful melody. I turned and caught the look of wonder and pure delight on Luke’s face as he reveled in the moment. I thought to myself, “Don’t ever take this for granted”.
I cannot quite pinpoint what is happening. Having been one of the first to receive Eucharist this morning, I move to the back of the gathering near the ambo. While singing the communion responses, I watch others walking east toward the sanctuary steps to partake. And from behind the altar, there are people processing west toward the altar to receive the bread of life and the cup of salvation. What strikes me is the simplicity of this Eucharistic ‘journey’. It is beautiful. I am mesmerized. What I see calms me. There is give and take; there is back and forth; there is bowed head and lifted hands. The sight reminds me of something. What, what, what? The ocean………
I watched a dance yesterday morning – a ballet. Sitting far back in the church with some visitors, I looked up from the hymnal to see the apse and sanctuary space. The clergy and acolytes were preparing the Eucharist. I watched in awe their graceful movements. Their care, their purposefulness, their cooperation with each other created a majestic choreography lifting me into the reality of what Jesus did on the cross. My internal gratitude to our Lord was more heartfelt than ever before. As I write this late at night, I am still humbled by the ‘dance’ of the Eucharist. Again, My Lord…..Thank You.
The evening sun gave a fiery aspect to the church’s oculus window on the eve of the Feast of Pentecost. The next morning we celebrated the fire of the Spirit in our Eucharist worship: festival music from the choir and fanfare from brass, organ and bells. We heard the words of the Spirit: scripture and prophecy in song and story. The service closed with a “still small voice”: a solo cantor singing “Into thy hands I commend my spirit” accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
This weekend was full of excitement! I sang with the choir in Evensong and Eucharist Pentecost services, marched in a Fife and Drum Memorial Day Parade, finished one of my last weeks of school, and helped with Elements Theatre Company’s performance of “The Dining Room”. I styled hair with my mother and sister (hence the salon name we gave ourselves, “Tingley’s Tresses” or “Tingley sTresses” depending on the situation). It actually went a lot better than I thought — given that it’s a mother and her two teenage daughters. I learned more about the play, about stage hair dressing, and about the ins and outs of behind the scenes work. I hope I can help with the next play.