After the opening, Pastor Saling took a moment to announce that a member of the congregation had died suddenly. I learned after the service that she was 80+ (though it was still a sudden downturn after a series of health problems) but at the time I didn't know, and regardless I got a bit of a clutch in my stomach. I have no idea who this woman is (though she obviously meant a lot to the congregation) but yeah, I am a total feel-your-pain sucker.
The immediately following chant was "Alleluia, Alleluia," which was a touch jarring. It's fairly mellow (hence, ya know, it being a chant) but still it starts with "Alleluia," eight times. I approve, though -- that whole "Rejoice in all things" idea.
Apparently last Sunday
was Good Shepherd Sunday. I hadn't realized that was an official Thing. So tonight Psalm 23 was read responsively and the Scripture reading was John 10:11-18
The Reflection was "I Am the Good Shepherd" by Don Schwager
I zoned out way early, so mayhap I am just tired? (A shocker, I know.) I still think last week's woman read too softly, but JohnZ's reading was mellow and I've been crap at focusing these past couple weeks anyway.
The Litany was the "let us pray to the Lord, have mercy" one I like so much. And JohnZ actually chanted it, which was heart.
Our darkness is never darkness in your sight: the deepest night is clear as the daylight.
La ténèbre n'est point ténèbre devant toi: la nuit comme le jour est lumière.
[Except we only sing it in English.]
I hugged the pastor after the service and hung out for a bit. We talked a bit about the picnic. I wanted to say that I was glad they'd used the litany I like so much and that John had actually chanted it (instead of just reciting it). But it felt weird, so I just hung out. He thanked me for being there, and I assume he meant how he likes that I come to service every Thursday, but it's entirely possible he meant more than that
. I hugged him again when I left. They felt more like real hugs this time. And after the first hug, he let his hand rest on my arm for a bit. Touch is good and powerful, yo.
At the service, he was dressed in dark clothes and wearing his clerical collar -- since he had spent all day at the hospital, I imagine -- and I was thinking later about what being a pastor entails and how you see people at the most intense moments of their lives.