Monday, August 01, 2005

Serving at St. Martin's

I presided for the first time at St. Martin's yesterday. It was my first time in a chasuble, besides the practice worship in my liturgy class. I have been under the weather for a couple of days, and running a fever the night before, and with all that liturgical gear on I just about fainted during the sermon. Thankfully I was no the one preaching! I was afraid that when I got up to chant, I would get light-headed, and keel over during the eucharistic prayer. Thankfully we were all saved from this, and all went fine - except that I forgot about the post-communion hymn. Ah well. I will apologize to the folks at the healing station, as this gave them a little less time for their work.

All in all a pretty pedestrian morning, really. I wish the ordination glow would have lasted at least a little longer. Some of the sheen has worn off, and I am beginning to find even this act, of presiding at the eucharist, to be routine.

The reception here at St. Martin's has been very good. They are a friendly bunch. Nobody seems to have flinched much at the small changes we made - we have adapted the worship space a little, and I presided at a small table in front of the high altar, up one step. (If you take a look at the St. Martin's website, imagine me behind a table between the gap in the communion rail).

Perhaps there will be some discomfort. At a previous parish, the morning after serving as a deacon, the church office got an anonymous phone call. According to the story, she had brought her elderly sister to church for the first time in a long while, and the sister was offended that I touched my tire and then the sacrament. This was a good point, to my mind, and I am careful about those kinds of optics now. The hunch was, though, that this was an expression of a more deep-seated anxiety. I wish I could have called her, but she left no name, no number. Just her odd story about her offended sister.

If anyone does come out of the woodwork here, and expresses their discomfort, I hope that I am able to talk it through with them. It is much easier to be angry about the new crippled priest, than the polite young man with whom you have shared a nice cup of tea.

I'll take the cup of tea any day. I hope they do too.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there on Sunday and I found it extremely emotional. Preston looked really good and comfortable in the chasuble and every time I looked at him my eyes filled with tears. He is good at celebrating, he is where he is supposed to be. It's wonderful to watch...even though he finds it "pedestrian". I think it will take awhile for the "glow" of the ordination to wear off for me!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

It's amazing what others see first. It's amazing what offends one and amuses another.
I wasn't there on Sunday, but I remember you celebrating at St. M's. It was really wonderful to see you in your element. As Karen said, you are where you're supposed to be. It felt "easy" for me as a member of the congregation and I never saw the wheelchair (figuratively speaking)
I have a found memory of learning to "pop a wheelie" in your living room...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Preston said...

Some of this anxiety might be my own. I can get a little obsessed with singular comments - like the strange phone call about the tire.

Maybe I don't need to worry about it as much as I think I do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 1:24:00 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

God grant you many years!

I discovered your blog through the Episcopal blogring and had hoped to get to late service @ St. Martin's last Sunday en route between Carmichael and Berkeley. (As it happens I used to live literally next door to St. M's ... but I wasn't an Episcopalian at the time, so I'm now curious.) Due to a number of circumstances, I didn't make it ... but hope to at some point in the future. It sounds like a wonderful place, and as others have said, where you are supposed to be right now.

Peace, out!

Sunday, August 07, 2005 2:43:00 PM  

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