Monday, April 25, 2011

In Service of the Church

Today is Easter Monday, or in my house, day of the dead! The dead!

Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I logged 18 hours at church (singing at services and practices). The only reason it was that low was because I skipped out on one Mass and the Easter afternoon Mass I was supposed to cantor ended up with the Children's Choir instead (an Easter miracle, for sure!).

Holidays are lovely and exciting. But for those that work in any capacity in the Church, the biggies - Easter and Christmas - usually mean a lot more work and time away from home. Not that I am complaining about it - I do it because a) I love it and b) it is a small way I can offer my meager talents to God through the community. However, it is - at the same time - draining on me. And if it is tough on me, it is also tough on my family. They must sacrifice that time with me, work around my schedule, and often not see me for hours on a Big Holiday.

When you attend an Easter service or Christmas service at a church, think about all that is takes in order to make that service special. Usually there is a very hard-working group that decorates the church, which can take hours. And the maintenance people who keep it extra-clean and spiffy! Then there is the choir or the musicians, who work for weeks in order to prepare music to make the holiday services special and extra-meaningful. There are always behind-the-scene worship leaders who rehearse with many people in order to get each step of a service just right, or at least free from major distracting flaws. These people often literally walk step-by-step through a service - multiple times - in order to anticipate every need or scenario (not that they can cover every possible thing which can happen - which means on the Big Day they have to be on call and ready for anything). Then there are those that take part in a special part of a service that come for rehearsals. In addition, there are ushers, lectors/readers, Eucharistic Ministers, and greeters that put in extra time to prepare for the heavily attended holiday services.
Priests (or minsters) must set aside extra time to prepare in a special way for the high holy days. And deacons, who usually have their own families, are likewise putting in many extra hours.

In other words, it takes a large cast and crew many additional hours to pull off Easter and Christmas at church. It is really amazing! All that time and energy, given freely at the service of others. It is a quite moving thought.

So, today we took an extra day off, so we can all rest and relax. I was so tired yesterday, I literally could not see straight by about 10am! my head was about to explode. I have decided that high ceilings are much preferable to low ceilings when copious amounts of incense are going to be used in a liturgy!

A mid-morning snack of a nommy purple-icing-ed cupcake topped by a Peep helped me get through the morning! (Thanks, Lisa!)

Happy Easter!

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