I would just sit this morning, sit and let the services flow over me. Close my eyes and listen to the words. Hear the music and ponder the presence. To step away for a time would be to see the mystery and beauty of the dance without the loss of wonder that comes with the earthy business of choreography, of steps that have to be taken, of charts and diagrams and directions and rubrics.
I ponder what it must be like to be a Bishop at times, to nearly always come in to parishes that struggle with the hows and whys and where’s of worship on that one Sunday, for them, of the year. For a parish this is a challenge to be overcome. For a Bishop this is every Sunday. How do they themselves see the beauty and holiness of what they are doing when they are constantly giving directions, answering questions, and saying “Stand there, sit there, move to this place.”
In some ways it’s a blessing to have an iconostasis, a shield to protect those who stand without from the chaos that sometimes is within. For those who celebrate, the time spent behind those sacred walls is time to snatch glimpses of the holy, snippets of worship, and flashes of the beauty of what is happening all around them, the beauty that drove them to become celebrants in the first place. It’s as if when one circles the altar in ordination they are also sacrificing, for their lives, the ability to completely bask in that which brought them to the altar in the first place. From this day forward you will be directing altar boys, making sure you are on the right page, dealing with people who come into the sanctuary unannounced, and answering questions in the middle of prayers.
Perhaps, in the end, this is the ultimate offering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, the temporary suspension of ever having a complete moment of reverence and awe so that others could have it if they so choose. On earth we are asked to catch glimpses, in heaven, in the presence of the Priest, we will be able to live and worship as we desire. Yet love even for the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table somehow keeps us going.
And now off to Liturgy.