20 August 2013

Changing the colours in the chapel (part 2)

What began yesterday as a discussion about changing the colours in the chapel ended up in a rather lengthy diversion on the complications of finishing a PhD (and more so, being married to someone who is doing that). And so we return to the original topic - and Matthijs's thoughts about it:

"But of course that was not the topic of this blog. Changing the colours in the chapel, however, is. This is something Brenda used to do in the past and sometimes still does. Last Friday morning I (Matthijs) had a go at it (and Brenda really quite appropriately reminded me, since I had promised the person who now has this task that one of us would do it).  
note from Brenda: I was willing to do it, I just hadn't timed getting ready in the morning well, and so it was actually a bit uncertain if I'd be able to manage to have it done before chapel started - so I was glad Matthijs offered to do something that is technically still one of my tasks in the community!

Our community of Oudezijds 100 has the charming custom of honouring the holy days of the blessed virgin Mary by hanging up blue curtains instead of the green ones that are usual for this season. That was for last Thursday, the day of the Assumption (or Dormition for the Orthodox). And so on Friday morning I had to change them back to green. I found out that in typical Oudezijds100 fashion, the changing of the curtains is less easy than it looks, since the system is old and crappy, and the curtains very easily slide off their rails so you have to redo them. So it took a bit longer than expected. And then the person who was supposed to do chapel didn’t show up, so I ended up doing chapel too, with minimal time for reflection about prayer themes, and not even time to read the Bible reading beforehand. 
So, chapel was a bit improvised. The reading was a surprise to all of us, since it was from the deuterocanonical book of Wisdom, and I do not think I or anyone else had ever read it before. But I was happy about doing chapel anyways. One of the good things of our chapel service is that you can bring out what you like to sing, according to your own tradition, and to pray for what preoccupies you most. The key to doing chapel is, for me, being prepared to offer some something of your own spiritual life and concerns in prayer, and for the rest to keep track of the time and the liturgical frame. It brings out something of the original calling we all have, as Christians. Every Christian is a born follower of Christ, but in the same sense also a born leader, as when leading a simple prayer service. Fulfilling this role brings me back to something I feel called to be. Which is something to be grateful for." 

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