Sunday, July 22, 2012

The parish picnic

It was today.  I didn't go.  Instead, it was my turn to celebrate and preach at the early service (7:45 a.m.).  Because of the Eucharist and picnic at the park at 10:30 a.m., we did not have our later two regular Sunday services. 

No matter how many verbal and written (newsletter, web page, midweek e-mail, and parish Facebook page) announcements we make, people still show up at the regular Sunday morning times.

Today was no exception.  One younger family thought they would go ahead to the picnic later.  Another visitor, in town for the summer writers' workshop, was crushed that the 8:45 service was not about to happen.  She told me that she'd counted on joining us every summer since 2004, and this time hadn't checked the website.  Today also is her birthday.   Because I did not, for once, have to begin the next service with the usual 4 minutes in between, I realized that she and I could indeed celebrate a shortened form of the Eucharist, and that is what we did. Our visitor knew all the responses.  When I put bread into her hands, her face lit up as though she'd just been given the best gift in the world.

After she left, I got to join a table of parishioners from the early service at their customary gathering place for coffee across the street -- something I've never been able to do.  Sitting with them proved to be another great gift.  I'm sure I've said elsewhere in this blog that I find it challenging to have three services on Sunday, mostly because two of them are crammed together, so I can' t give the early crowd the time they need to talk.  Today, it happened.  There must be a way to make space for them more often. 

Meanwhile, I wondered what was happening at the picnic.  I wondered if any flies tried to get into the chalice, or if the preacher could even be heard in that outdoor space.  While it was humid today, it wasn't nearly 100 degrees, as was predicted earlier in the week, and for that I'm glad. I may have missed some fun.  But I wouldn't have traded my early morning, the birthday guest, or the time with some of our long-time parishioners for anything.