Naughty Noontime … in worship
Posted March 6, 2010on:
This year the Catholic church is hosting our town’s ecumenical Lenten services. This particular group of 5-7 churches collaborates on many projects, and we know each other well. It’s a collection of brand-name Protestants of similar stripes, and one Catholic parish that blends right in. For these services, various clergy take turns offering the sermon, and the host congregation prepares and leads the liturgy. Since the Catholic priest is overburdened with two parishes, the deacon has been in charge.
Last week, the deacon was unexpectedly unable to attend. At our clergy meeting the day before, he asked a colleague to fill in, but he couldn’t do it. Without a thought, I opened my mouth to volunteer, and the deacon said yes, again without a thought. How hard could it be, right? All I had to do was lead the service he had prepared.
It wasn’t until I stepped into the front of that beautiful Catholic church, in charge, that I realized what I had done. I, in my female body, was running a service in a Catholic church—introducing the male preacher, announcing, praying, pardoning, benedicting. I was acting as substitute host, as though I owned the place. Knowing both priest and deacon, they are quite open-minded and neither would be troubled by this, nor were the members of the various churches gathered. But on the wall was a picture of Pope Benedict, and I swear he was scowling at me the whole time.
I must confess it was exhilarating. I felt like I was really getting away with something naughty. I looked right back at Benedict and stuck out my tongue.
Ok, I didn’t really do that. But just standing up there in leadership felt like the same thing.