Sunday, January 07, 2007

First Sunday as a Priest

Today I presided at the Eucharist for the first time, twice. The 8:00 service went off without a hitch – everything went very smoothly. And Moki gave an absolutely beautiful and inspiring sermon (see sermon text). After the service, I got some very positive feedback. People really liked the way I did the Eucharistic Prayer, how I slowed down at certain points to make it more meditative, giving people a chance to think about what the words mean.

The 10:00 service was not quite as smooth. I made one blunder during the Eucharistic Prayer. After the Lord’s Prayer, I had a slight moment of disorientation. I thought there was supposed to be a musical fraction anthem, so I waited. When nothing happened, I looked at Vivian (the Minister of Ceremonies), who kind of motioned for me to continue. So, I did a said fraction anthem. Then, after I said the “Gifts of God for the people of God” piece, I looked down at the paten and saw the whole priest’s hose and realized that I had not actually done the fraction. My breaking of the host was supposed to be Jim’s cue to start the music for the sung fraction anthem. I felt like an idiot. But no one seemed to notice.

For the Eucharistic prayer, I chanted all the appropriate parts. I did okay, but not as well as I could have. This was for two reasons. First, I started developing a cold yesterday evening, which made it difficult for me to control my voice and to hit some of the notes. And second, I was really nervous. Not only was there a larger crowd, but also my parents were there. But after church I talked with both Vivian and Jim (the Music Director) and both said they thought I did pretty well for a first time.

Moki gave another wonderful sermon – this one different from the one at 8:00 (see sermon text). There were some parts that were similar, and the overall message was essentially the same, but the words and illustrations were different. It was a very moving sermon – a real blessing.

After the service, I was talking with a couple of parishioners. One of them asked me if I felt different now that I was a priest. I told her I felt a little different. She then said that I looked different – I carried myself differently, seemed to have more confidence, and had a more spiritual air about me. She thought I seemed like a different person than I was before my priesting.

After church, Moki and I went to Santa Monica and had lunch at PF Chang’s on Wilshire Blvd. Then we walked along the 3rd Street Promenade and looked in some shops. When we were done with that, I took him to LAX and then went home. Overall, it was a great day. Very tiring, but definitely satisfying. It was a good kind of tired.

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