Memories from the past

I can remember as a young adult not quite 20 going to 8 O’clock Eucharist which was a “said” Eucharist as opposed to a “sung” Eucharist. I can still recall the smell of the beeswax candles and the remember the absolute stillness of the sanctuary. In those days you did not attend to engage in conversation before the service nor did you allow your kids if you brought them to run rampant up and down the aisle! The quiet always struck me as wonderful and in stark contrast the 11 O’clock Mass at the RC church or the Preaching Service at the Baptist church where it seemed everyone was talking. I can still see the light coming in through the altar window and the faint glow of the sanctuary lamp which was always lit when the Sacrament was reserved and that was always. The service lasted about 30 minutes with the homily about 10. The pastor was a very humble kind of chap who was always half asleep and who would make some real zingers during the Liturgy but everyone thought that just contributed to the charm of the hour not to mention his. I recall that there was one couple who were very nice and very conservative church wise but Democrats politics wise who never missed a Sunday Sabbath. The husband was an acolyte and his wife the sacristan. They were “high church” and the rest of the folkes were “broad church” and no one ever seem to care if you bowed or genuflected or did neither well except for the faithful couple who felt the pastor was remiss in an innocent way in not teaching folkes to genuflect when entering or leaving the pew. In the county this church was considered the “Republican Party at prayer” though that was not really accurate and “second cousins to the Catholics” which was true in some ways.Those were the days when there was no such thing as “political correctness” nor issues with “god language” such notions would have been considered silly and a waste of time. About a third of the parish was gay and everyone knew it and did not give a Continental that that was so. The parish church was old by the standards at least of that part of the state. It was supposedly the place of a miracle at least for one its presbyters and I don’t doubt that frankly. I miss it. Maybe that is a good sign that I am in fact getting old. We have lost our sense of the Sacred and we have rejected our sense of the mystical and replaced it with cultural relevance and empty meaningless wordy phrases that are full of sound and fury signifying nothing to quote the Bard!

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