I grew up in a christian family. We went to church for as long as I can remember. The first church I ever remember being a part of was an episcopal one. We were there for close to ten years. My mother tells me that she could tell that I wasn't all into the "liturgical worship thing", my brother was though. Despite my childhood preference I miss it today. My brother became an altar boy, was confirmed and had his first communion. I didn't want anything to do with any of that.
No way. Well, unless they would let me doodle on the bulletin (as was my custom) up there on the altar but I knew that wasn't an option for an altar boy. There was church stuff that I did enjoy. These are now fond memories for me. Memories of sounds, smells, people and other random stuff.
There was one huge event that happened every week at church that I looked forward to everytime. It occured after mass while coffee hour was happening. I remember asking my parents "can I say hi to Phil now?" while they were doing the adult socializing thing. Phil was the janitor who's office was way in the back of the stage within the function hall. He was kind of a loner, quiet, like me. He was an old guy. I can still remember the smell of ben gay as I would hang out with my cool friend. I would talk with Phil about what I loved best, baseball. He was a total baseball fan too. He would always have a newspaper on his desk, probably opened to the sports section and he was always there alone in the office while everyone else was socializing. I would continue on about my baseball cards and my little league games. He would listen to me and than ramble on about baseball history and about the red sox or something like that I don't really remember but I do remember that he was pretty cool.
Towards the beginning of each mass there was the opening hymn. During the hymn all the important people would start marching out of the important room each with hymnbook in hand and singing very loudly. Strangely enough I miss the music, especialy the dirge like stuff of hymns like "let all mortal flesh keep silent". During this processional or whatever you want to call it they would march a good portion of the sanctuary and end in their respective seats on the altar. I don't remember how many there were of them. I know there was the priest. He didn't impress me that much. He was nice but bland. The only part of any sermon(or homily or whatever)that I remember was him talking about how he prefers VH1 to MTV. Strange for a priest I thought.
There was one guy however in this group of important people with robes that was such a mystery to me. He was the guy marching in front. He would swing back and forth this thing that would spit out smelly smoke. I can still remember that smell and I am very fond of it. This man had wide lensed glasses which were the kind that were a little shaded giving the likeness of blublockers. So just imagine a man who looks like a slick italian taxi cab driver with blublockers on along with a shiny liturgical fancy robe swinging a peculiar object that spits out smoke and how that would look like to a six year old.
This same man came up to me once (I think it was him) and asked if I wanted to learn how to make the bells in the steeple make a song. He was in charge of that important stuff. I was flattered in a small kid kind of way and said yes. He brought me up to the balcony towards the back, opened up a box the size of a small TV with a key and showed me step by step along with the song book how I press the number coded keys to play each note. I thought to myself "this is huge! all of downtown will be able to hear me play!". He told me to go ahead and try for myself after demonstrating himself. I told him that "I didn't know how to play music and that I was nervous".
Half way into my first song he said I was doing great and to play as much as I like. He then took off. I paused for a moment and then played on. I ended up enjoying it a whole lot.
During coffee hour there was this little old lady that always gave me candy. Every week. This is very cool to a little boy. One week she wasn't there and so naturally I didn't get any candy. I inquired my parents about this and they said they didn't know where she was. Later that week they sat me down and told me that this lady had "passed away". We had what I think was my first talk on death and all that stuff. After the talk I walked away thinking to myself about this mystery called death and all the fear that can come with it and about how I'll never see that lady again except maybe in heaven or something like that. I think I was more distraught with the vanishment of my weekly sugar fix.
There are many memories like these. Memories I now treasure. This church wasn't the most spiritually passionate but there was stuff I took from it. I attended sunday school every week and learned all the typical bible stories. Through that I listened to the word of God and came to a belief/faith in Jesus/God and His character. I learned about the friendship of God through my baseball discussions with my friend Phil and I learned about the mystery of God through the liturgical worship and the blublocker wearing, incense flinging, robe wearing guy. If it wasn't for that guy I probably wouldn't be the musician I am today.
That is a taste of my episcopal days.
2 years ago