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Cantata Sunday

As I’ve mentioned before, our minister of ten years retired at the end of September, and since then our little church has moved into high gear not only to find a replacement, but also to take up the slack and complete all the tasks, big and small, that need to be done to keep a church going. It’s an absolute wonder to behold! Everyone is doing something to help, fill in, lend a hand. To that end, in October sometime, I asked the person in charge of pulpit supply if it would help if I led worship on Cantata Sunday. (This would not entail preaching since the Cantata takes the place of the sermon, making my job a whole lot easier!) She responded with, “Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes yes!


Before the end of the week, I had my order of service written (I do like to be prepared well ahead of time!) and put it aside to tend to more pressing matters, like helping our guest organist settle in to take over the choir. Our usual organist had to take some time off to tend to her critically ill husband and so B. very graciously accepted to fill in for her, and more than just fill in – he helped us prepare all the hymns and anthems for each Sunday, and if that wasn’t enough, taught us a brand new Christmas Cantata. A prodigious amount of work! And all accomplished superbly, I might add. I made sure to acknowledge him from the pulpit during the service.

But wonder of wonders, our former organist was in attendance in the congregation yesterday much to the delight of everyone. And when I pointed her out, the place just erupted! The poor woman was almost smothered to death as it seemed every single person in the church wanted to hug her.

The energy for the service so positive, upbeat and happy, and it washed over me wave after wave. I teased the congregation saying that Minister of Worship isn’t exactly a glamorous job, but basically means I’m in charge of keeping things moving, or like my driving instructor used to say, “Just keep it between the fence rows, Penny-Anne.” So if I could get them to coffee hour without going off into the ditch, mission accomplished! And when they tried to applaud B. before I was done singing his praises, I stopped them and admonished them not to get ahead of me. Two sentences later I said, “OK, now!” and they warmly (and obediently) expressed their appreciation.

The Cantata itself went wonderfully well! I cannot remember ever doing a better job. I expressed my thanks to our narrators and musicians, and then said, “Choir, we rocked it!” A little girl, about three years old, looked up at her mother and whispered, “Did she say, ‘We rocked it?'” And her mum smiled. “Yup she did,” she replied. “That’s our Penny-Anne!”

Finally, as I was getting ready to go home, S. met me in the vestibule. S. is a great bear of a man, 6’4″ if he’s an inch, and built like a linebacker. And the sweetest, gentlest soul on the planet.

“Did anyone ever tell you that you are a child of God?” he all but bellowed.

“Uh, well, I suppose somewhere along the way someone…”

“Your words were inspired this morning!”

“They were?”

“And the way you ran the service just magnificent!”

I twisted the toe of my shoe into the linoleum and cast my eyes down modestly.

“I was pretty awesome come to think of it.”

Whereupon he gathered me up in this fierce bear hug that realigned my spine, markedly improved my posture, and put a huge smile on my face.

It’s still there.

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