Thursday, September 22, 2005

Just sitting

I took some time, after spending most of the day crunching numbers and powerpoint issues, to sit outside the church with my wife. We ate McDonald's and sat on a garden bench as the evening came on, waiting for choir to start.

This coming Sunday, aside from all that the morning will entail with the second Sunday of regular program, Morning Prayer and a special parish meeting, we will celebrate a service of Evensong. A test, if you will, of a liturgy that to my knowledge the parish has not yet had the chance to experience in recent memory. It should be fun.

I have become a big fan of Evensong in recent years. I was not a big fan in seminary. Odd to think that should have been my attitude, with David Hurd himself my faculty advisor and having matriculated at one of the more liturgically minded priestly formation programs. Still, I am a morning person, and I loved "Morningsong" more than those late afternoon summonses to the Chapel for a dose of the old Anglican Chant. Singing a brighter and wider variety of canticles appeals...And there is also the memory of taking my morning coffee in for my early check in with God. Evensong was something that felt "late" and was also from time to time a bit sherry-soaked. I remember once a couple of colleagues got the giggles during a psalm that referred to a particularly nasty dispensation granted to "those who persecute the righteous." Very inappropriate...And a bit too funny.

Sunday afternoon should be a bit more relaxed. I have asked Tim, the director of music, to keep it participatory and light. He chose a couple of lovely canticles for the choir to sing, and I was able to select my favorite Phos. Let those who know these things take a moment to smile, chuckle and savor the memory of their own favorites.

On the other side of stress, I am starting to gather myself for the randori that is to come on Sunday. You would think, watching that quicktime, that I am getting geared up for a battle. A melee`. Actually, quite the opposite. The beautiful thing about randori is that at the end of the day, it is about harmony. The sensei taking on those junior black belts is literally welcoming them into the experience. And they are giving him their committed energy. Everyone is involved in a profound relationship, albeit one that in this instance is about conflict. Randori just means "seizing the storm." Accepting reality, embracing what is and then moving on, always moving on...and into...and through.

One of the things that truly heartens me is the amount of candid and loving support that is flowing in to the office and to my desk. I am impressed by the way the vestry is stepping up, not to support the status quo, but to challenge it and themselves. They have really embraced the whole package, what has brought us to this place and how we might dream ways into moving beyond it.

The focus is not on fixing the problem. That is actually pretty easy to do. We sound the alarm. We ask for money. We plug the hole in the budget and then we pat ourselves on the back...until the next time. The sincere wish I am beginning to hear is that we simply don't want to walk back over this territory again in the future. It is time to turn the page. That, to me, is real randori. Accepting, enfolding, redirecting and then resolving before moving on down the road.


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  4. Marshall, you are the man for this job. Hang in there and things will find a way to work out--this time for the long haul. Keep finding the quiet and listen.

    Good luck to you, Laura, and your community.