Tuesday, April 13, 2004

There's no place like home

I'm going to let you in on a secret. It has a bit to do with why I wrote the last post -- I've still got a little pissiness in me about my last parish. I've been remembering some of the hurtful things.

The reason I've been remembering that is because I'm becoming quite attached to my new parish. It's that broken trust kind of thing...it makes you feel a little leery when you find you're getting attached in a new relationship.

The people I knew before I started at Church of the Open Arms (not its real name, but close enough) are even more dear to me. I'm getting used to their moods, their difficulties in trying to accomplish their tasks, and their generosity through it all. Yes, I mean you, assisting priest, and the deacon who has been determined to put me to work (bless her heart) even though the rector has wanted to take it a bit slower -- to allow me to adjust, grieve, and (I think he was thinking), in case I was to bolt back to my old parish -- or somewhere else.

I'm getting used to him, too. I loved the Holy Week services. He has an artistic, dramatic flare that makes for some beautiful services.

I especially liked the Saturday night Great Vigil of Easter, with all its magic and mystery, cantoring, processing inside and out, and dramatic lay readings. And the baptism. Baptisms are the most wonderful of all occasions, with the community involvement in support of the newly baptized and the reaffirmation of our own baptismal covenant.

The little girl who was baptized Saturday night was alternately giggly and serious. The rector officiated at a small pool designed for quiet meditation in the courtyard, wading in, getting his pant legs wet. Before starting, he beckoned us all down close -- then splashed us after the baptism. Sucker!! It's like going to Sea World and being dumb enough to sit in the front rows when Shamu is performing -- you're gonna get it.

There's Mrs. Rector, who is very different from other priests' wives I have met -- in a good way. She is very involved in the ministry of the church. She usually doesn't take much time with make up or the vanity things, but Saturday night she was glamorous!

And the assisting priest -- I've got to start calling her something else -- I've got to think about this -- who is warm and caring and has a great sense of humor, even though she has too many demands on her time.

I put a gag gift down in a bag of Easter goodies for her: genuine, jasmine-scented Angel Snot TM. It's billed as "The gift of precious fluids from heaven's messengers...Medieval people believed each sneeze was a bit of soul escaping the body, and only a quick blessing could stop it. The phrase 'God Bless You' was a summons to angels to restore the breath, or soul of the sneezer. Although no one knows what the soul looks like, we can offer the life-giving breath of angels, Angel Snot TM. This beautiful pearlescent substance is a solid manifestation of the miraculous power of angels...You will never be alone as long as you keep a little bit of Angel Snot TM with you."

I've just been waiting for a chance to unleash that Angel Snot. (TM)

Well, so far the Marvelous Mother (M&M?) hasn't called in the Canon to deal with me. I've heard no rumblings about excommunication. Heh.

I'm getting very attached to them all. I'm starting to know which parishioners are chipper and which are grumpy, and which of them are dealing with really awful illnesses or problems and need dedicated prayer.

I know how the old wooden pews in the chapel protest at those who would sit on them. I know the difference in smell between the chapel and the newer sanctuary. I'm used to the way they process in and out. I know who lifts their hands in praise. I know who does all the cooking for the soup kitchen.

It's feeling like home to me. I'm getting attached.

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