this morning, as i lounged with coffee and caught up on some essential reading, i found these words by dear amy. if you have not already visited her corner of momentary madness, please let this link lead you there. amy has this way with words. she really got me this morning.
jack served an acolyte for the first time in church today. (An acolyte can assist in worship by carrying a processional cross, lighting candles, holding the Gospel book, holding candles or "torches", assisting a deacon or priest set up and clean up at the altar, swing incense or carry the incense boat, hand the offering plates to ushers, and many other tasks as seen fit by the priest or acolyte warden. - from wikipedia) in our Epispocal church, acolytes are typically at least 10 years old. they have recently extended that responsibility to 7 - 8 - and 9 - year olds. jack jumped at the chance to attend acolyte dinners/training, and i was thrilled that he was interested. we have, together, battled an apathy regarding Sunday School this year. he was so keen on taking on this new responsibility, yet i prepared myself for this first Sunday, this first opportunity for him to shy away from his commitment. but this day dawned and he was calm and focused, ready to assume his new role.
(i love this photo of my dad's hand guiding jack.)
jack's responsibilities included carrying a cross in during the processional, holding the Gospel during the reading, carrying the cross back out. oh, and of course, sitting still for an hour and 15 minutes. ah, amy, there was plenty of opportunity for that sky-high enthusiasm to be curbed. i *calmly* took my seat during Prelude and Fugue in C (who doesn't love a good Fugue first thing in the morning?!?) and ran through the service in my mind. or, rather, i ran through the opportunities for mistakes. i glanced back to see him lining up with the clergy, and the first leaden lump rose in my own throat. my little boy. taking his place among so many others before him (myself included.)
amy's words took hold. from this point forward, there was nothing i would be able to do ensure that jack would remember everything. that he would remember to stand in the right places. that he would, please-oh-please, hold the Gospel steady during the reading.
(jack and grampie, prior to the service.)
the Gospel for today was Matthew 6:24-34. the entire lesson is one of my favorites. and despite the fact that i often collapse into totally inappropriate giggles when they read "consider the lilies..." (thank YOU, monty python), i remained pious as jack tried in vain to hold the heavy Gospel steady. i'm sure the lector had to resist reaching out and holding the book himself. but they survived it, the two of them. and so did i.
i was a nervous wreck. and can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? of course, the answer is no. and i'm left reminded that this wasn't really about me, after all. of course, i will need to be reminded of this again.