Sunday, October 31, 2010

today's service

I work in words. I'm comfortable there since it's been my method for dealing with reality since the drugs wore off. as a preacher I've scripted out nearly every word I've said, even down to side comments and asides.

so I was really taken aback when my computer ate the sermon I'd been working on friday night and the other sermons in the same file.

oh, I ranted and raved, if primarily inwardly. one of the great effects prozac has had on me is to mute much of my ranting and raving and keeping the lightning indoors. but my wife, who was good enough to help me try to recover the lost files, had a headache and the beginning of a sinus infection, and heard a tone in my voice suggesting I blamed her for the loss. that of course was not good or right. even I couldn't see how I could blame her but I apologized anyway since I'd rather be happy than right.

after I calmed I realized I'd been offered a gift. (I'm hesitant to put it that way since a gift implies a giver as well as a recipient, but leave that: being offered a gift sounds like the right wording.) I had the opportunity to create, from whole or nearly whole cloth, a new ceremony. my text had been about el dia de los muertos, the day of the dead, and its significance. I talked about the recent suicides of gay teens and the nasty words of clint mccance and the proximity of the day to yom kippur, all soul's and all saint's days, samhain, halloween, and thanksgiving, and was in the process of tying those spirtitual conversations and forgiveness together. there were observations about the saw and halloween movies and the george romero day of the dead and even a shoutout to tonight's premiere of amc's the walking dead series. it was shaping up nicely and who knows, maybe I'll still find it and resurrect it.

but my opportunity was to do something I've been loathe to do. to speak extemporaneously, from notes or an outline. I teach that way, but I've got the time and the space to do that in a classroom, where a written lecture seems out of place to me (and dull to my class). and for a moment I reflected that maybe such a thing is out of place and dull in church too.

THAT is an overwhelming thought. I haven't dared explore it any further, but I have totted up a series of bulleted doings for a new ceremony for the dead which include music, candles and herbs, constructing a tiny altar, and a guided meditation and room for response. will this work? I haven't a clue.

Performed at Dakota UU, Burnsville, MN
October 31, 2010

• Music (“L’Autunno” by Vivaldi)
• Light herbs
• Introduction to Dia de los Muertos
o Halloween
o All Saint’s Day
o All Soul’s Day
o Yom Kippur
o Thanksgiving
• Introduction to altars
o Rich
o “I have no altars”
• My experiences with Santarians
• Introduction to altar objects
o My mother
o My animals
o Who I was
• Poem (“My November Guest” by Robert Frost)
• Guided meditation
• Responses/Sharing

the introductions and meditation are all intended for extemporaneous speech. I've a rough idea what I'll say for each. the whole thing ought to last 20 minutes and I'll have to watch my clock assiduously since I'm only guessing. one or 2 elements can be dumped at the last moment, and I'm comfortable with that. we'll see how she goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment