Last Sunday I served my church as a lector. A lector is someone who does various readings for the service, either a liturgical prayer or the readings from the Gospels or Hebrew Scriptures. It was the first time I had done it, and I am not sure exactly who composes the prayers (of which I lead the first). I am fairly certain the the readings are on a cycle, like the Latin Mass readings in the Catholic church. I go to a UCC church, and I have been very happy there. I have felt so at home that I last year I decided to serve on the coordinating council, which has been a really enlightening experience. Because of my time on the council, during which we also have had a search committee looking for our next pastor, I know that the average age of our congregation is 69 years old. Pretty up there. I think I am the youngest voluntary member of the church…
Anyway, I have found a nice little home at this nice little church every Sunday (and two days a month for council and team meetings). It isn’t what I’m used to, but that is part of what makes it so satisfying. I am challenged to see things from outside my own perspective a bit. By that, I mean that what I really would like is a younger, more vibrant, media rich (maybe a house church) type of experience. But I’m pretty sure God has put me in this place, and that makes me happy. I don’t know exactly why, but I have faith that it is so.
So I’m sitting up by the alter last Sunday, enjoying the service, heart racing a little bit (cuz, you know I always get a bit nervous, even if it’s nothing). Looking out at the congregation, I watch everyone’s eyes skim over the hymnal, singing in voices that are distinctly elderly (you know what I’m talking about; you know, but you don’t say anything cuz at least it’s cute that they get so into it, you know?). It was almost like out of a Norman Rockwell portrait; bright faces, mouths open in song, natural light pouring in from the windows and the big doors open in the back.
Peering over the lectern, I watched as pages of the Bible flittered and flipped on the intermittent breeze being offered by the oscillating fan next to the altar (we’re old school like that too, no A/C, very Berry-esque). Like an invisible hand playfully skimming the Bible. In the Rabbinic literature, there are metaphors that describe the Torah’s beautiful fragrance. Staring at those pages dancing upon the lectern, all I could think about was this rich floral aroma, like pollen shaken from their ink, being carried out toward the pews. After I read from Ezekiel, all during the sermon, I watched as my fellow church members inhaled this sweet, subtle scent of God’s grandeur. It made me smile.