Monday, January 18, 2010

The Weekend

This was one of those weekends that stood out; that was especially notable and seemed worth blogging about.

Friday evening was my first bass lesson. I didn't really know what to expect, but I knew that I wasn't going to pretend to be better than I am. From what I'd heard, the first lesson is more about the teacher evaluating your skill level and getting to know you so that he knows where to start. We talked a little about my musical background, and he had me play a song I knew just to judge my technique. I chose the opening riff from Dave Matthew's Band's "Crush." Overall, he thought I looked pretty good, but gave me some pointers on that and then showed me some stuff about the root note, the 4th, and 5th. I sort of knew about this, but had never looked at it in a disciplined way...which was the point of me starting lessons to begin with.

Saturday evening, I traveled to the Catholic church in town. Right around the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the ministerial association of which I'm a part holds a pulpit exchange, and this year I was set to be a part of their Saturday evening mass. The priest and I hung out in the rectory for a little bit, since I'd arrived in plenty of time to try to get my bearings. When we finally did travel over, I noted that he was wearing sneakers. He's a pretty laid-back guy that way. I can't even recall if he wore a collar. Nevertheless, of course, he did get fully decked out in alb and chausible before the service.

For the bulk of the service, my Protestant-ness was on full display. I sat with the priest up front, and couldn't find a missal nearby, so I mostly listened. It felt like an exercise in voyeurism that way. I muddled my way through The Nicene Creed...if it'd been The Apostle's Creed, I'd have been okay. I was familiar with responses such as the Kyrie and after the scripture readings, but that was about it.

Aside from that, this was my first sermon back on the notes-less bandwagon. I had reservations about starting this in an unfamiliar environment, but it didn't really affect me once I got going. I used Isaiah 64:1-5, reflecting on the new names that God gives to the nation and land in that passage, and talked about our common name as Christians no matter what specific name (Catholic, UCC, etc.) that we claim. It seemed to be received very well, and afterwards I had at least one comment about my lack of notes.

Near the end of the service, the priest presented me with a gift: a hand-carved olivewood lion lying with a lamb from Bethlehem. I was very flattered and honored that he would do that. It will be prominently placed somewhere in my office.

Coffeewife and I then went on a real live date in celebration of the 11-year anniversary of our first date. We originally wanted to see a movie as well, but due to my being at the Catholic church it was already getting late. Couple that with a Saturday evening-sized crowd at the restaurant and it was close to 9:00 by the time we paid for our food. We didn't mind...we were content to have even that time to ourselves, talking about career goals and reminiscing on that night 11 years earlier that began at a swing dance hosted by my fraternity (we'd actually both come with other dates, but not on any romantic level), and continued at the after-party.

On Sunday afternoon, my Association bade farewell to our Association Minister, whose family is moving to upstate New York due to a new call for his wife, who is an Episcopalian priest. I myself was disappointed in the turnout for this service, but it may have been due it being on a Sunday afternoon. My more cynical side thinks it also reflected the state of denominational commitment and attributed importance.

Besides that, it was a very meaningful service, with our now-former Association Minister visibly moved by the event. He read part of a homily that he's kept over the years that he'd found meaningful. They gave him several goodbye gifts, and we shared in communion. I've been thankful for his guidance and friendship over the past four years, and wish him nothing but the best.

Oh, and MIchigan basketball beat #15 UConn. Go Blue!

So it was a good weekend. Now I turn my attention to a busy week.