Monday, Laura Ruth emailed the UCC clergy, cc-ing me and Keith, saying in part "I will be in Israel on two Wednesdays in Oct - the 22nd and 29th. Please would you celebrate communion? There is a fixed liturgy that you'd need to read. Keith [redacted] and Elizabeth [redacted] will set up, and they and others will clean up. Keith can lead the service."
So when she saw me helping to set up before service today she thanked me (as always -- and she's always so really genuinely grateful, which always kinda throws me) and then said, "Did you like how I volunteered you to help?" I laughed and said yeah of course it was fine -- said that my initial reaction was kind of "Hey!" but that I know being volunteered for stuff is kind of how churches work.
I asked if it's really UCC policy that you have to be ordained to do communion. I said 'cause after my "Way to volunteer me" reaction, I was like, "What, I can't do communion?" 'Cause at Cambridge Welcoming we take the "priesthood of all believers" seriously and anyone can do communion. The first time Tiffany asked me to lay read, she asked if I would also be willing to help with communion -- which has a responsive liturgy. I was like, "Uh, okay..." 'cause I have a very low theology of communion, so to me it primarily functions as a marker of being in communion with that community I'm with, which I don't always feel -- which I've mostly gotten over and now I just take it, value of going through the motions and church as social and yadda yadda, but I have totally argued (discussed) with more than one pastor about communion.
Anyway, she said that the it's up to the congregation and that it was one of the first things she asked when she started here, and they said they wanted a clergyperson to do it, and she asked if that would be true of this midweek service as well, and they said yes.
Later, either Laura Ruth or Keith said we needed to go get the communion elements. I joked that I really did have a low theology of communion 'cause I'd been looking around thinking, "Is there anything else we still need to do for setting up?" and the lack of communion elements on the table didn't even register.
Rest and Bread ("Light")
In the Welcome, Laura Ruth said, "Some of have spent all day working, and some of us have spent all day worrying."
I was particularly struck by:
4. When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
7. You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
Sacred Text: Matthew (salt of the earth, light of the world)
Keith did the Reflection and pointed out that Jesus was saying to the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed: YOU are the light of the world. Not all the big-shots.
He quoted from John Winthrop's "City Upon a Hill" (of course!). When he said, "wee must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities," I thought of Wesley ("Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can."). I enjoyed "wee must delight in eache other." Also "rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer together." And if we do all this, "the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us."
Laura Ruth (and Keith) do the Invitation, Words of Institution, and Prayer of Consecration, but then we pass the bread to each other, saying, "This is the bread of (new) life." Jennifer got all wide-eyed that she had to give it to Laura Ruth (when you're at the end of the semi-circle, you give it to the presiding person who started). She said, "This is the cup -- I mean, this is the bread of life. This is not a cup of the new covenant." I said, "It's all a big metaphor anyway, so it doesn't really matter." Laura Ruth turned to me and looked mock-scandalized. I put my hand to my mouth and said, "Oh, was I not supposed to say that out loud?"
via itsabigrock: http://www.csmonitor.com/patchworknation/
Gee, big shocker I have always lived in "Monied 'Burbs." ("Campus and Careers" is Franklin County, not Hampshire County -- even though the latter contains Amherst, South Hadley, and Northampton.)
No post-class discussion tonight so as to allow people (like the prof) to watch the debate. Laurel and I were like, "Yeah, we still won't get home in time to watch it." [Class gets out at 9:35, and you still have to walk from the div school to Harvard T and then we still have to take the T home.]
People were watching it in the lounge, so while I waited for Laurel to go to the bathroom I saw part of the "Talk about your opponent's running mate" bit. Obama opened with saying that Palin was a capable politician. SNAP! He also said that he was in agreement about special needs being an important issue and yadda yadda, and that advocates agree that you need increased funding for that, and how can you accomplish that with a spending freeze?
On our way to Harvard T, Laurel and I talked about class and then she talked about her undergrad and her current lack of career direction and thus and such and we ended up getting to talking about religion. She describes herself as spiritual but not religious, which I always forget about. I think of her as . . . "anti-religious" is overly harsh, but it's the closest term I can come up with. But she's not only personally seeking, she's actually rather ecumenical. She's not Christian (nor did she grow up Christian), but she does Wednesday night dinner with the Lutheran-Episcopals [MIT?] (except not this semester 'cause of this class). Heart! 10:25 we finally pulled ourselves apart.