Not in the choir loft; there was no choir call or director. Just Sally, our wonderful organist.
I didn't realize that there were a few choristers up there, and I could have gone up with them to support the congregational singing. But I arrived just 5 minutes before the service, and I need at least that much time to settle in before worship.
It looks different from down there. It IS different.
I had the sense that I was singing VERY loudly...I suppose because no one was right next to me doing the same, as I usually experience it. It was a slim attendance this morning. (Lord, be with my parish, and with your Church everywhere.)
Instead of a sermon, Fr. Court took requests for Christmas carols! He said that the Christmas season is so short (from Christmas until Epiphany) that we would be the sermon today in our Christmas singing. It was lovely. (Lord, bless those who sing!)
I had people I didn't know around me. My old social anxiety thing floated through the back of my mind ("you mean I have to talk to people I don't know!?"). What a gift my lay service has been with that issue, because it puts me in a safe place to take what feels like a scary step. And you know, the choir loft is not the place to keep striding with that. Gotta get out of the loft more. (Lord, bless my unbelief and keep healing my fear!)
I met some perfectly delightful folks who said they had been members previously and were thinking of coming back. I hope they will! I don't know, but suspect, that they may have been members of a nearby church whose priest has recently resigned due to the schism in our denomination. (Lord, help us see Your way in the churches, and to love each other while we disagree.)
The Gospel is read in the middle of the center aisle here, and the thurifer comes down and the Gospeller censes it first. I was right next to that. I have grown to love that little bit of HIgh-Churchery that I didn't know before coming here. (Lord, thank You for the varieties of religious expression!)
Seeing the Sacrament consecrated from below the altar instead of above it (way above it!) was wonderful, too. It seems to me I am supposed to be looking UP at that Mystery as it unfolds, hence the architecture of the church building. (Lord, renew your mystery in our lives.)
It was announced that our rector's wife, Gina, has entered home Hospice care. The prognosis is that she will likely live six more weeks on this earth, at the most. It came as a huge shock to me - I don't know why, because I knew that the experimental chemotherapy was not going well, and pancreatic cancer is a grim diagnosis in general. Hope is always with us, I suppose. The woman next to me (another Daughter of the King) and I wept together. I have been praying this afternoon for Gina and her family, and for our parish as we support the Hollands throughout this walk in the Valley of the Shadow.
Lord Jesus Christ, hold us in your arms. All your world. People I love and people I don't know. Gina and Saddam Hussein and my daddy, too. Everyone. Teach us to seek you, help us to see your wonderful face.