Yesterday, we spent a lot of time in the rectory, getting it ready for move-in sometime in April (after Easter). The place is really coming together, mostly through the love and labor of wardens, vestry and volunteers. The old carpet is up, the walls and trim have new paint, old wall paper is gone and a newly refaced kitchen will debut in the coming week. What was remarkable in yeasterday's efforts was that we filled a 30' construction slip in a morning. It is amazing that when you take all the little things up and out of garages, basements, yard and parish shack, how much just seems to pile up. What a blessing to have time to just work, talk and laugh together. I can't remember who said it, but I seem to recall one of the old-timers from the town I grew up in saying that you can't know someone until you have worked alongside them for a day. I think that is true. I know I show my best and my worst on those work days. Just part of being human, and being honest, with your neighbor. What did I learn yesterday about my neighbors and co-laborers in Matawan? Just that they continue to reveal themselves as "good people;" hard workers, faithful, joyful. They are a "let's get it done, and have a good time doing it" sort of people.
That bore out this morning with the observation of the Palm Sunday liturgies. The day went very well on a day when it usually is a hurdle overcome to pull off this challenging, once-a-year extravaganza of special prayers, processions and the reading of the Passion. All of it, really, just happened in a very natural way. God bless the folks (esp. Altar Guild, Deacon, Choir, Acolytes and Lectors)...from work to prayer to fellowship after...it all just seemed to flow. The only true challenge I had was trying to remember, while preaching, how to fold a palm cross the way Mrs. White taught me when I was six, back in Geneseo, NY.
A great way to begin Holy Week...and something most priests pray for and don't always get (I know I have had some tough, rough and bumpy Holy Week journeys)...a simple, grace-filled start to the Big Show of the Church's liturgical year.