Saturday, October 13, 2012

The so-called plenary sessions on John's Gospel were delivered by the woman who usually served as master of ceremonies. Given her buoyant personality, I didn't think she could focus enough to prepare a series of talks. She repeatedly shared how little she'd worked on these presentations. And how things were done last minute. She was able, however, to calm herself enough to read three lectures in which she made many good points. But she did not hold my attention and I blame her Australian accent. Voice quality is so important to me when I'm listening to someone.

My study group was assigned Colossians. We met after the general talk on John 5 to work out together Colossians 1:1-14. One participant was unable to make the workshop, so only one gave a presentation on Col. 1:15-23 which includes the hymn. I offered some criticism of her report which I can't now remember. But the point of the workshop is to provide feedback on our effort and this is her third time at the workshop after taking the teaching track (a more challenging track) the first two years. I thought she could handle receiving input but she could not. Later in the day, she said something about how gently Paul corrected the Colossians and I took that as a veiled hint that I had not been gentle. Anyway, I tried to make friends with her almost immediately afterwards. I have some trouble understanding the attraction of her denomination, but I couldn't find a tactful way to inquire about it. I suppose that difficulty of understanding may be mutual.

The dinner hour began at 6:15. They offered a gluten-free chicken and an eggplant lasagna. So many people are vegetarian these days, there's no reason to think only of Friday abstinence. I ate the lasagna quickly then left into the cool night air. From the driveway, I could see the inviting lights of St. David's chapel at the corner. I walked towards it and arrived immediately. I entered to find one person at exposition. The 7 o'clock church bells rang and she left shortly after. I thought, "She thinks I'm her relief and I'm not." No, relief hadn't yet come. So, I stay until relief comes? I tried to wait but at 7:10 I got out. I nearly bumped into the guy who was to be next. He eyed me and then looked at his watch. He was indeed late but he probably thought I had no business going until he got there.

After the second general talk on John 11, there was time to return to St. David's for benediction. At 8:45, a woman retrieved booklets for Night Prayer (Compline)1 from the altar area and distributed them. The msgr appeared from the side of the altar - how do they do that?! - and, matter-of-factly, we said Friday's night prayer and received benediction. I checked into my hotel room and made sure I was ready for the next day.

1 US Bishops' website no longer sells this booklet.

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