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surprises

I am planning for my month in Boston, realizing suddenly that I’ve never spent a whole month away from my house, in someone else’s house, since–well, since college. And that’s different. I’ve had people live in my house for anyplace from a school year to a few months, but I’ve never been the guest. I hope I’m a good guest; I don’t want the surprise for May to be to discover otherwise.

I think I can do that; I keep learning about myself and the kinds of rigidity and self-centeredness I have. And battling, I hope. I hope I can do the work of being with the people Common Cathedral serves in Boston and leave myself behind. I know ministry means the one ministering learns and gains more than anyone. I want to learn and grow and gain, but I hope I do enough good to be worth the time of those who are going to mentor me. I’ll hope for a good surprise.

And I have one good surprise to celebrate: I sang the Exultet for Easter Vigil this year. I didn’t sing it really well, but it wasn’t too bad, and I did the whole thing without stumbling or stopping (I didn’t say without any wrong notes). That’s not quite right–I almost did stop once. The Exultet has congregational responses, the first in the middle of the second page. I’d rehearsed with Andrew, our wonderfully patient and good music director, and some of the choir kindly provided a congregation so I could sing in front of more than 1 person once before Saturday night. So I’d heard the responses being sung back to me.

But then the whole congregation sang in response–our congregation sings. I almost stopped; it was like being hit with a wave of sound and warmth and spirit. How could it be possible to respond to something so awesome? The voice of the people is as the voice of God, a proverb before Hooker said it. But there is the next line to be sung, so I went on and sang it all, and the responses rose up each time.

Surprises waiting, new experiences waiting–I’ll pick up and keep going whatever happens, because there will be a next line to sing, a next person to listen to, a next task.

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