Saturday, March 26, 2011

Episcopal Oversight

We're halfway through our time with the bishop.
("Is the good bishop or that bad bishop coming to visit?" Alouicious asked on Thursday as we were cleaning.
"The good bishop," I said.
"Oh" he said disappointedly. Think he probably wanted to practice awesome "kung-fu" moves on a bad guy and so I pulled him back to remind him to pray for the bad bishop which disappointed him even more. Romulus then wandered in to inquire why we were cleaning.
"Because!" said Matt, "we enjoy a clean house, Cleaning is a regular integrated part of our lives." Nobody believed him.)
Today will be various workshops and training. Tomorrow will be baptism, confirmation, chrismation (I don't even know how to spell this or anything--someone, enlighten me, what will he be doing?), and, said the bishop, "raising of the dead". I look forward to it immensely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prayer, if you have a moment

While Libya and Egypt apparently spiral down from bad to worse, and Japan continues to generate news and need, Ivory Coast is barely a blip on the screen. Its so interesting and horrible to review geography week after week (right now we're studying the whole continent of Africa) and put your pencil on a whole country quickly before the next name is called out, and have a whole array of actual places flash quickly through the mind's eye. And of course, actual people--people with  chaos overwhelming and with no possible end in sight.

Lord have mercy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Bishop is Coming! The Bishop is Coming!

I always wanted to say that after seeing the Far Side cartoon about the anthropologists. This congregation is So diverse in denominational backgrounds that it seems like many people have no idea what this is all about. And I'm finding an appalling lack of vocabulary to be able to talk about it. My conversation with our wonderful church secretary went something like this.

Me: There are so many changes for the service next week perhaps I should just putting everything in order in a new document for you.
A: Are we not doing it right now?
Me: Oh no! We're doing everything right. Its just there will be some new things. And some other stuff.
A: Oh. Um ok. (looking very quizzically like why are you waving your arms and becoming agitated)
Me: I just want to make sure that everything is right for that week. (beginning to babble incoherently) Not Morally right. We're just talking about the service and the whole week. It's not a matter of sinning or not sinning, just being properly Anglican.
A: Properly Anglican. Ok.
Me: Well, that sounds weird. Scratch that. Just ask Matt what I mean.

Or my conversation with Matt:
Matt: Make sure everything is in the bulletin next week please because you messed up this week.
Anne: I'll write that line in your bulletin  that I forgot. You'll be fine.
Matt: I don't want to say it if its not in the bulletin. Everyone will be confused.
Anne: No one will be confused. It will be fine.
Matt: I don't want to say it if its not in the bulletin.
Anne: The bulletin isn't the Bible.
Matt: (laughing hystically) Yeah but sometimes the Bible quotes the bulletin so we have to be careful.
That was a joke! All non-Anglicans please don't freak out.

And then there's my running internal list of things to do that I'm afraid no one else will think about. Things like
1. Putting the fear of God into the acolytes so that they will slow down and not shoot themselves down the aisle after the service like all the donuts will be gone before they get there and by gum thy will get a donut so Get Out of the Way Everyone! They can't do that.
2. Finding out who the acolytes are ahead of time.
3. Putting a word in to the altar guild to make sure the purple altar frontal is swapped out for white because of baptism, even though its Lent.
4. Reminding the choir to wear white instead of purple.
5. Conferring with the altar guild about the whole chrism extravaganza--getting oil, having something to put it in. Its been so long since we've had proper chrism who even knows what we did before.
6. Trying to get Matt's attention about the schedule of the weekend so if we need to get a babysitter we'll have plenty of time.
7. Cleaning my House!!!!! Just in case someone wanders in.
8. Cleaning all the Sunday School rooms (but maybe someone could help with this).
9. Finding that wretched baptismal dress because we might as well have the baby baptized while he's here. Where on earth did I put it?!?!

etc. etc. etc.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

reading and typing with one hand...

As a palliative to the horror of having to read Treasure Island (never before has anything entirely killed off my small desire to take to the sea in ships) I'm rereading Sense and Sensibility at the same time. I am convinced, again as I am every time I read it, that in this book more than any other, Jane Austin had very particular people in mind rather than just types of people. There is too much blended together in Mr. Collins to make him only one person. So also with practically all the awful Bennets. But Miss Steele, my heavens! She had to have had a very particular woman in mind to produce such a creature.

It grieves me, deeply, that she fixed on naming her 'Anne'.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Sleep of the Righteous

This baby has the most grating, life shattering cry I think I've ever come across. And she can go from basic happiness to full throated hysteria in about 24 seconds. This is the result, apparently, of giving birth to a huge healthy baby with a great pair of lungs. We're so used to tiny delicate squeaky little babies who gently cry and coo. We continue, day by day, to be in shock of this cry.

Nevertheless, the size of this baby means that she is, at one month old, essentially sleeping through the night. You know what I mean--you know that incredible moment when a baby sleeps from like 11pm to 3am or 10:30 to 2:30am. New babies don't do that. It takes like six months to get there--six months of feeding at 6pm, 8pm, 10pm, at which point you try to decide whether to go to sleep or stay up till 12am, 2am, 4am and then you might be able to push it to 7am, but only with prayer and fasting. To have a baby go to sleep between 9 and 10 EVERY NIGHT and just sleep straight through till 3 is beyond anything I could have imagined. I'm getting as much sleep now as I did before giving birth, sometimes more.

This is another proof of a private hypothesis I've been mulling over for the last year: Nothing Is Quite As Bad As You Think It Will Be and likewise Nothing Is Quite As Good. Its the constant mingling tension between Sin and Providence.

I always like to expect the worse so as to be as disappointed as possible. But I've found, since I've been purposing to take notice, that I'm never quite as disappointed as I expect to be. Take giving birth, for example. I worked myself into a fit before going into the hospital about all the bad things that were going to happen to me (like giving birth). I took every opportunity to point out to God how badly it was going, but eventually I had to give in and admit that it wasn't go badly at all--on the whole a smooth and trouble free time.

And yet, to be further honest, it was not a sunshine path. The reason I got so worked up is in fact because of what was taking place. The presence of suffering and trial and sin is not imagined. Its just never quite as bad as I expect it will be.

That's sort of been my prayer for Japan over the last 24 hours. Its really bad. It seems to be getting worse. But I hope and pray that Providence will encroach and take over. That every blanket that's passed out, every parcel of food or bottle of water will relieve the ache and bring enough comfort--not as much as anyone would like, certainly, but enough. That's generally what God promises, enough.

So I'm getting enough sleep, and I'm really grateful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Holy Lent--Various Unrelated Threads

Sitting here watching horrendous coverage of the earthquake in Japan today, or rather yesterday for them. On the one hand filled with horror at the devastation, and on the other actually suppressing a great overwhelming desire to laugh at the ridiculous wall sized touch screen monitors that every male news anchor seems to have whereon he can circle the names of cities and draw little arrows and generally give no particularly relevant  information about what's going on other than that Not Enough People Have Died....yet. There's always a note of lingering hope in the voice of such an anchor.

Matt, who long ago in his far off youth got to visit Japan, has had both the tv and internet going all afternoon.

I've wandered my way through the day trying to ignore the fact that my mother is leaving tomorrow (Pretty Sure We Will Not Survive) and trying to get weepy little kids to take naps after being up sick all night. So Grateful that this bug made it through all of us in a week. Pretty sure, actually, we had two different illnesses cycling through at the same time. Just so so glad that everyone actually got it in a timely fashion and I'm not facing the weekend worrying about one or two "healthy" kids possibly throwing up suddenly at an unhelpful moment.

Realized, as I missed all the Ash Wednesday services, that the reason I LOVE Lent is because I love church so much. And when I say church, I mean the actual Church Service, although all the other stuff is nice too. I love Holy Week particularly for all the different types of services there are and the fact that there's at least one every day. Miss the long years past when we had a mid week service. Miss being able to go to Morning Prayer every day. Wish I had the time and energy to get Evening Prayer a couple of times a week (with music).

Battled down real envy this week when I popped into the sacristy to bother our Lovely Church Secretary about the bulletin for the altar guild ladies who were rearranging the linens and fussing with last year's palms and washing up the tiny little chalice in the traveling communion set. Matt likes theology and teaching and preaching. I'd rather fuss over the liturgy and whether the altar flowers and set precisely in the right place on the altar. It's like we're MFEO.

So I'm not aiming very high, this lent. I've given up complaining because I've noticed that my clever laser-like "analysis" of every tiny situation is trending pretty negative lately. Not taking up any kind of food fast because its enough to sustain the life of this Massive Baby. And I'm going to read carefully through Hebrews.

And hopefully we'll all give up being sick and just be healthy. And maybe we'll start collecting pennies for Japan as we pray for them. What a luxury to even have a church, or a standing house, and one's whole family safe and sound. From the BCP: Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake.  Amen.