Monday, June 06, 2011

The Chalice and the Fly

It finally happened.

I started the Eucharistic Prayer yesterday, and noticed a slight movement over the altar. There it was: a fly. I've not seen one in the chancel in the four years I've served at this parish. It's one thing to have an outdoor Eucharist, where flies and bees and ants like to see what's for lunch. And because I was trained to perform a minimum of "manual acts" and to celebrate with simplicity and reverence, I don't normally cover and uncover the chalice with the pall multiple times. I'm wary of creating distraction, so I've joked with our deacons that if I see a fly, I'll cover the chalice right quick.

So there they were: the chalice and the fly. I covered and uncovered and then covered that chalice, all the movement feeling at odds with the way I prefer to minimize it. I recall that when our bishop visited, he, too left the chalice uncovered, saying with a grin, "If a fly appears, I'll cover the wine." I admit it: I was never so glad to have that pall nearby; the fly gave up, and did not dive in for a happy, drunken end. And I learned that it's a good thing to keep alert!


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