Today was our second Sunday at church since New Guy started, and frankly we wouldn’t have gone at all except Rea was on the schedule as an acolyte. We didn’t get our act together in time to get someone to take her place; so we got ready and went at 10:00.
Things were very different this morning, our sanctuary is being renovated, so church was held in the gym of the Family Center and there will only be one service until the sanctuary is completed. I liked that part – all of the early people were there, all of the late people were there, a complete church. Sometimes it’s as if we are two separate churches, early people/late people and never the twain shall meet. We also sang several old, songs this morning (more than usual). I can’t remember the names of all of them, I lost my bulletin, but my formerly Southern Baptist husband was blown away by the fact that we sang the first and last stanzas of songs this morning – a Methodist no-no with previous pastors.
New Guy was shoeless again today. Basic black, Gold Toe socks only. You see, he said on his first Sunday that our sanctuary was “holy ground” and that he wants to respect it and all of those who came before him and by not wearing his shoes in there he is being respectful. I understand, (I suppose) how, the old, historic sanctuary might be “holy ground”; I’m just not with him on the church gym thing – that’s got me just a wee bit puzzled. And if the sanctuary is such “holy ground” why isn’t everybody barefooted?
New Guy preached today. Then he PREACHED some more. Then he PREACHED and PREACHED for THIRTY. MINUTES. Now, I know other denominations are used this, but we are not, we are spoiled, we are used to a 10 minute or possibly a 15 minute message, then things are tied up nicely with the Benediction and we go on our way with hearts “strangely warmed”!
So back to Rea and her acolyte duty, she and her partner had done a good job, their candles lit well and they took their seats. After New Guy had PREACHED for an eternity, new people transferred their memberships; Rea and J got up to extinguish their candles and were standing facing the congregation waiting for the Benediction. The postlude has begun, New Guy is still talking, they have taken a few steps toward the back and then he just says “YOU CAN GO NOW!” NO: Let The Lord bless you and keep you. NO: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. NO: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. NO: Amen.
And everyone just swarms out of their seats and overwhelms Rea and the other acolyte. They are standing there holding long, FLAMING brass sticks and I am horrified. I have visions of some little old ladies hair going up in flames! Thankfully Rea and J had the presence of mind to blow their flames out, I was really proud of them!
I guess the part of where an acolyte is supposed to take the light of Jesus Christ out into the world where believers are called to serve just didn’t happen today.
And all God’s people said AMEN!