Find and Replace

Anything worth doing is equal parts passion and paperwork.  Cooking dinner: balancing flavors and improvising with ingredients; also chopping, sifting and washing.  Leading singers: discovering hidden talents, being blessed by the prayerful outpouring of song; also lugging binders of music to and fro and poring over rubrics and service outlines.  It was in the thick of the latter that I found myself for most of yesterday.

When I'm on top of things, I try to do a month's worth of services at a time; this enables me to get an overview of what's coming up, prepare and rehearse music with my chanters, and generally be more efficient than I would be week by isolated week.  I'm especially grateful for Microsoft Word's "Find . . . Replace" command.  I can put in "Tone 1 . . . Tone 2" or "Publican and Pharisee . . . Prodigal Son" and suddenly the outline is transformed; a few more tweaks and it's ready to go.

Lent begins in a little over an hour, and the services of the Church have been anticipating this for many weeks: commemorations like the aforementioned parables help bring to mind our feebleness and need for Christ's healing mercies.  These last two weekends have been the most intense of all.  Last week was Judgment Sunday, when we heard the Gospel of the Sheep and the Goats: "Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to Me."  That was the day we gave up meat; and today, when we give up all other animal products (and wine and oil, except on weekends) we heard the Gospel of Forgiveness: "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."  Today is Forgiveness Sunday.

So as I made up the bulletin, and the dialog box prompted me to enter text, the irony was not lost on me.  Find Judgment; replace with Forgiveness.  It's a good motto to live by, during Lent or any other season.

Brothers and sisters of the Internet, I repent of all my hasty and self-centered speech.  Kindness and consideration are not my strong points, as you well know.  I pray you have not been offended by anything I have said here, but if you have, the fault is mine, so please, forgive me.  May this season be a blessing to you, and please, pray for me.