I said, "They should carry a lighter, too, so we don't have to use up a whole box of matches." (The good big portable lighter we had had gone missing, and the remaining one had given up the ghost, so we were lighting candles with matches, and lighting tea candles you turn the match almost vertical to light it, so then the flame goes up the match and you wanna blow it out before you have time to light the next one. Very inefficient.)
She said, "When you get ordained we'll give you a knife and a box of matches. When Keith gets ordained we'll get him something different."
There's some positive psychology term for that, I'm sure -- about not talking about "if" something's going to happen but just planning for "when" it happens. I'm used to people asking me if I'm going to div school/seminary since church is like What I Do, and more recently people asking me if I've considered going into ministry (since in certain contexts/with certain people I'm really caring and nurturing, a sympathetic/supportive/patient listener, etc.), but to just say "when you get ordained." Yeah. I didn't interpret it in any sort of pressure-ful way (And it occurs to me on reflection that Keith's in an econ Ph.D. program, so he's about as far from ordination track as I am.) but it still took me a moment to react.
The Sacred Text was a Parker Palmer reading.
Keith talked about the Palmer text about embracing our history and imperfections rather than trying to deny them, being in tension with the Psalm ("create in me a new heart, O God"). He said that there are lots of Psalms of lament and petition, but one would be hard-pressed to find a Psalm about embracing all of who we are, imperfections and all. I squirmed, 'cause "Before I was formed in my mother's womb, you knew me." is from the Psalms, right? And I know that's not exactly about the same thing, but still.
Plus I was unclear as to what the takeaway message was supposed to be.
Communion went well, though. We pass the bread to each other, and Keith and Laura Ruth come around with the juice and wine, so it's often a little awkward when it gets to the last person because they're supposed to serve Laura Ruth bread (she having begun the process by serving Keith, who then serves the next person in the semi-circle), but Laura Ruth is already holding a chalice. We actually rehearsed this after service last week with Gary (because he was the one sitting at the end that week and had found it really awkward) and I was concerned that the way it had been rehearsed was too dependent on the layperson knowing what to do (which means we should really have the same person sitting at the end every week). I considered sitting at the end this week to alleviate that, but I thought if I did sit there I would be worried the whole time that I would kick Laura Ruth's guitar (which was propped up against a chair perpendicular to that chair) so I didn't. It went seamlessly, though (and didn't require the layperson to know exactly how it was supposed to flow). Keith took Laura Ruth's chalice, Althea (the person at the end) served her the bread, Laura Ruth took a piece for herself and then took the whole chunk and put it on the altar, Keith offered Althea and then Laura Ruth the Cup(s). I told both Laura Ruth and Keith afterward how I had been a little concerned and was ultimately impressed and thought it went "seamlessly" and Laura Ruth high-fived me.
Laura Ruth thanked me and Keith for all our continued help with the service and then said that we probably appreciated her help, that she didn't want to say that it was "her" service and we were just assisting her. I said that I do think of it as her service. She seemed genuinely surprised by this. I said, "Well, in that the service existed before I became a part of it -- not in an oppressive patriarchal 'ownership' kind of way."
We then got talking about language and the visioning statement they're working on and I mentioned that I'd been looking at the new church website the other night, and the first two things she asked me were, "Did you like it?" and "Did you find any mistakes?" :)