Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vignettes

Last night we had a meeting of our worship coordinators. They are the few people who organize and make sure each service runs smoothly: communion table set, processional well-paced, assistants trained and ready to go. They also clean up after each service, and take the linens home to launder. At the end of each meeting, one of the pastors gives a brief "liturgical moment." We talked about baptism and Holy Communion, hymnody and the order of worship.

Last night I told them a little about "The Liturgy of the Hours." I have been trying to discipline myself lately according to Phyllis Tickle's books, "The Divine Hours." So I told them a little bit about where the tradition of "fixed-hour prayer" comes from.

I come from a tradition where it has often been deemed superior to "make your own prayer," otherwise known as (aka) "praying from the heart." Yet, I am not myself an either/or type of pray-er, and I have discovered both "making my own prayers," and traditional collects to be helpful at different times. I also offered a testimony of sorts: there are times when it is difficult to pray from the heart, and I have discovered that an old prayer, one that has stood the test of time, is exactly the prayer I need to say.

We closed with this prayer:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, sooth the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

****

Sunday was our 2nd Annual Animal Blessing service. It dawned cold and rainy. Loud thunderstorms punctuated Sunday worship. It dried off by 2:00 p.m., but our crowd was much smaller than last year, and it was cold.

Our Scout was not a very good dog this year. She was very interested in the cats who had come, and tried my husband's patience mightily. We did not get any good pictures of her.

However, it was worth it because we blessed Harriet.

Harriet is a ten-year-old boxer. An 11-year old boy and his mom brought her to the service in the afternoon. They said they had never been to anything like this before. They are members of our church, but had not been to our service the year before.

Between March and May of this year, Harriet's guardians discovered that she was bumping into things. By May she had become completely blind. They took her to the vet, and discovered that she had a tumor. It is cancer.

"Bless O Lord, your servant Harriet, and fill our hearts with gratitude for her life."

***

I have been thinking a lot about the economy lately. I suppose that everybody has. I remember studying the Depression, seeing the pictures of bread lines and hoboes. I don't think we are going to have a depression like that one, but I do wonder what the future will bring for us. I also think: the one thing that they had in larger supply than we do: community.

13 comments:

Border Explorer said...

RE your concluding vignette (which brought to mind the movie The Grapes of Wrath): community in our time is weak. Perhaps a depression would force us to reassess our priorities? Some Hebrew Scriptures flash into my mind.

Lauralew said...

I also find _The Divine Hours_ very helpful as a spiritual discipline. When I get out of that rhythm, I don't do as well in the rest of my life.

Ivy said...

I find the liturgy of the hours helpful as well. I use http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/hours.php, which is the online version of Phyllis Tickle's liturgy of the hours. The prayer you posted is one in the ELW Compline service which we use here at LTSG.

By the way, Law and Gospel mentioned she had the opportunity to see you when she was in your area. She's a year ahead of me here.
Blessings.

mompriest said...

Oh, yes...I think community was more available...and perhaps can be again....

I'll have to get that book....

thanks for this reflection, gives me food for thought...

Cathy said...

I can't believe we wrote about the topic! Lauralew pointed it out to me.
Blessings, Cathy

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thanks for the information about Phyllis Tickle. Lately I've been wondering about the daily office.

Kievas said...

My prayers go out to Harriet and her family. I know what that's like.

Lindy said...

I am glad Harriet was there and got to experience the love of her family's faith community. May she have a peaceful end.

The Episcopalians have that prayer too. It's one of the prayers for mission -- choice of a couple -- in the evening prayers. Good for lots of occasions.

Thanks for sharing these.

beth said...

I, too, am thinking that perhaps the current state of affairs in our country might bring about a much needed resurgence in true community. We shall see.

Good post - be blessed today!

DogBlogger said...

Oh, yes, it was worth it for Harriet. Blessings upon her and her family.

Re: your last vignette, one of our columnists wrote about that very thing this week, and it's going online later today. I'll send you the link when it's up.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

That is my very favorite prayer in the BCP...

Barbara B. said...

Thanks for sharing the vignettes! I am definitely in the pray-er challenged department. Sigh.

I'm glad you were there for Harriet!

And the economy is scary right now!

RevDrKate said...

We had at our pet blessing a blind dog and a deaf dog who live togehter. The humans who tend them said they take care of each other compensating for each others' lacks. We should do so well. Glad you could bless Harriet and she you. Glad you are still blogging, too.