Sunday, August 9, 2015

Creatures on the altar

There was a tiny creature on the altar today at St. Andrew's, Northford. It was teeny-tiny, I have no idea what it was. Smaller than a gnat it was, crawling slowly across the Paten and then the corporal and then the fair linen. (If you don't know what those words refer to, google it.)

I've often encountered creatures on altars. Mostly spiders, it seem to me, but from time to time a ladybug or a bee.

I never kill them. It just seems too awful an act, to kill a creature of God on the altar of God.

It reminds me of a time years ago at St. John's, Waterbury, when we always had seminarians from Yale. Some seminarian or another had invited his/her classmates from fieldwork to come see where she/he worked. I was asked to celebrate the Eucharist for a dozen or so students and their professor.

I did so, and afterwards a particularly studious seminarian (she'd been taking notes during the tour of the church and even during the Eucharist!) came up to me.

"Father Bradley", she said (that 'Father stuff really annoys me), "I'd like to ask you about some of your manual acts I've never seen before."

Well, I went to Virginia Seminary where "manual acts" were at a minimum and I seldom do anything besides make the sign of the cross over the bread and wine--not much else.

"OK," I said, "ask away."

"Well," she said, looking at her notes, "several times you waved your hand above the chalice at times I've never seen before."

I almost laughed and would have if she hadn't been so serious. "Fruit flies", I told her.

And she wrote it down.

Creatures at the altar. You've got to love them.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.