The teaching at today's Mass was about the mystery of the resurrection. It was our third turn as Eucharistic ministers since we were invited to serve, beginning in September. It's not an office involving any kind of ordination or particular distinction. We are just extra hands for the priest, to help speed things up. But what a blessing, to be given to witness the faithful receiving the sacrament so intimately. I am so grateful.
There is a joke that I remember from the comic strip, The Wizard of Id, but which has also been attributed to Beat writer William S. Burroughs:
Wizard: "Do you believe in life after death?"It's kind of how I felt at the Parish Picnic this afternoon. R. made her excellent apple salad with the sour cream/horse radish dressing to bring. The Knights of Columbus put it on, grilling burgers and dogs. We both had dogs, mine with mustard and onions. I also had macaroni & cheese, potato chips, R's apple salad, cucumber slices and a brownie, with pink lemonade.
Sir Rodney: "Yes."
Wizard: "How do you know you're not already dead?"
We sat with "Duffy" Norman, one of the Knights. He is a Vietnam vet, and an old member of Blessed Sacrament. He helped make the stained glass windows in the "new" church, and was one of the guys who put on the Christ Renews His Parish weekend retreat that I attended in the late '90's.
Then it was Bingo time, with prizes for the winners. Everyone got two boards.
After we ate, and before Bingo, I stepped out for a smoke. Looking at the nondescript, boxy 1950's Parish Center in the golden autumn sunshine, (it used to be the church proper until the new church was built in the 1980's), I felt again such gratitude.
The Parish Center, as I said, was once the church itself. When the new church was built, the old space was named the Parish Center, encompassing not only the old sanctuary, but a large kitchen, a nursery, a religious articles store, upstairs meeting rooms and bathrooms. No one calls the old sanctuary, to which we repair after Mass for refreshments, the Parish Center. Everyone calls it "The Hall", as in "The ladies are having a bake sale in the hall after mass". Yet the weekly bulletin has always listed events there as taking place in the Parish Center, with a parenthetical nod to the popular usage. So you get, "The Parish Picnic will be on Sunday from 2 to 5 in the Parish Center, (Hall)". It always makes us laugh.
I've been a convert for just over 20 years, but we didn't start showing up for these events until about 10 years ago. You don't have to say or do anything special to belong. Eat together. Stay for Bingo if you want to.
Life after death, in such a funny old paradise.