I asked Laura Ruth if Molly had commentary or if she had just told her that I'd emailed her. Laura Ruth said that Molly had said, "She has thoughts!" -- in what I heard as an approving tone.
Keith came in and Laura Ruth greeted him and told him he'd done a good job as liturgist on Sunday. I asked him what that entailed, and he started to talk about doing the call to confession and I interjected, "Good job on that, by the way." He said, "Oh yeah, you were there on Sunday. Basically what you saw me do up there on Sunday is what the liturgist does." I said I'd seen on the monthly newsletter that along with sermon titles and what-have-you for each week, there was also a Liturgist listed, but I thought of liturgy as the way that the worship service was structured and I didn't think you'd get to just decide you wanted the Call to Confession at the end of the service rather than the beginning or whatever, so I wasn't sure if there was some behind-the-scenes involvement. He said no, you just do the call to confession and the call to offertory.
Laura Ruth said to me that Molly had asked her, "Do you think Elizabeth would want to be a liturgist?" I CRACKED UP.
We were putting the bulletins together, and Laura Ruth asked me to include the fliers for the Christmas Eve Service of Lessons & Carols. I asked if these should be folded as well (we were folding the announcements). She said no, just put them in.
I said, "I think that's awkward, but if that's what you want. Sorry, that was unfair, to lodge a criticism and pretend I hadn't."
Laura Ruth: "I like it when people tell the truth, because I don't guess well. [...] What I'm saying is, I like your way." [my way of being and critiquing ... we still weren't folding the fliers]
me: "Thanks. I'm a fan of it myself. I mean, I'm a fan of it in others -- that came out wrong."
The Scripture was Isaiah 40, and I didn't write down where Laura Ruth ended but I think it was the bit about the Lord tending his flock like a shepherd (v. 11, which is where Sunday's lectionary reading ended, so that makes sense).
Keith did the Reflection, and he opened by talking about how pieces of this passage are throughout the music & etc. of this season, particularly Handel's Messiah. He sang the "all flesh... shall see it... together" bit (and Laura Ruth joined in).
That was the bit that had struck me, actually, when I was listening to Laura Ruth read the Scripture.
We sang the first verse of "Silent Night" as the closing hymn. (I didn't ask why the shift from last week's all-three-verses.)
After service, I told Laura Ruth I wouldn't be here for the Christmas Eve service (7pm) because I would be home for Christmas Eve, and that I might not be here next week because next Wednesday is the HBS Faculty and Staff Community Party and so I might be kind of drunk. She said that their policy on "coming to church hungover" is that you should come. I said my concern wasn't so much that I would be showing up drunk (and here I told her how I'd been thinking I needed to stop scheduling things for after that party and last year I had been scheduled to have coffee with Tiffany and had told her when I showed up, "I'm a little bit drunk," and she said that was fine) but that I'd be having fun and wouldn't want to leave, so that really I was bringing this up to get her opinion on my not being here. [I do enjoy the service and enjoy seeing her and other people, but I was also concerned because usually I help set up -- not that they can't manage without me, but I felt bad ... and certainly felt I should at least give them a heads up.] She said they would miss me and would "grieve [my] absence" but that they would be fine and I should do what I needed to do.
When I left, Laura Ruth said something about not seeing me for two weeks, and I said yeah I'd thought of that, but that since I'm going to Sunday mornings there during Advent I actually would be seeing her :)
Addendum: Thursday morning (5:49am!), Molly replied to my email.
Thanks for your very cogent feedback Elizabeth!
I, too, whenever I worship elsewhere, find it hard to turn the inner critic off, but while I do pray that God will help me fall into worship wherever I am, I also expect God to use my inner critic for good--to learn as much about what I *don't* want us to do as a church, as I do get ideas about what we can do to be more what God might intend church to be.
About announcing hymns: couple years ago we worked hard to put together a service, that we are constantly tweaking, that would be both flexible and reliable. I try to resist extra directive words in worship, because UCCers are already so darn wordy! I think the more talking I or other worship leaders do, especially about directions, the less worshipping we are all doing. Everything in worship should be geared to falling into patterns and practices, together. So, we probably won't change this practice anytime soon, but I will tune my listening in to see if there are other ways we can make worship as easy as possible to follow and participate in.
Thanks for your feedback,
blessings and peace
be the change you wish to see in the world.