Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Different One

So, this morning I was slated to preach in the English service--the first time since the new pastor arrived. Being in charge of the service, I decided for the opening prayer we would sing a song I learned in seminary and love. "Welcome Holy Spirit. Welcome to this Place. You are wonderful, marvelous, glorious, in this place." I called a group of choir members (they are on vacation for August) and recruited my parents who were coming to hear me preach and we practiced before worship and then lead the congregation. I told/reminded the congregation that prayers are not just spoken, but they are also silence, song, and movement. So we did our opening prayer/song and then the passing of the peace. Now, two interesting things happened. 1) when I went out into the aisles to greet people, one of the women who had fussed at me about the first bilingual service last year greeted me. Now, last week she had said, "we are really looking forward to hearing you preach" (good....I think....I don't know what they were expecting, but good....) and then this week she said, "You sure do things differently, don't you?!?" I laughed, "yes ma'am, I do!"

It is true, there really is no denying it, I do things differently. I like mixing things up, working "outside the box" because I think that's when we learn and grow more profoundly. If we always stick to the same, we are never challenged and we can't hardly grow from the richness and depth of other traditions that surround us. So, yes, I do things differently. I think if people just accepted that fact it would all much more smoothly because then at least they'd know not to expect the expected from me!

The second interesting thing happened when I returned to the chancel, my senior said, "should we pray?". I smiled and said we just did! Our song was a prayer! (is it really that hard to grasp??) I showed him the script of the service and asked if he planned to skip the children's time and go straight to the congregational prayer....he realized, I guess, that he was skipping ahead and let me continue with the kids moment. Now, it could have been an honest mistake of him getting ahead of himself in the order or worship, or it could have been that he, much like my congregants, doesn't see my acts of "differentness" as fitting with the expected norms and standards and so wanted to be sure we prayed as we began worship....who knows?


chai said...

you really are different! but that is why you are an amazing individual. woo hooo, one MORE week!!

John Meunier said...

Would the misperceptions have been cleared up if you had told your senior and the congregation you were changing things up?

I admire your willingness to get outside the box. Some of us more in the box types need road signs to make it clear when we're supposed to change lanes.

Deb said...

John, that's a helpful thought. It probably would be helpful for our folks to have clear *warnings* about what is coming, and yet at the same time, sometimes I don't even know what is coming--inspiration just hits and we roll with it! Maybe it's because church hasn't been so safe for people that any change is anxiety-provoking, I don't know. For me, there was so much stability in church and in life that change is welcome because I have that strong foundation....I'll try and be more understanding and provide better signs in the future. thank you!