I had finally settled down in a back pew when an usher’s tap on my shoulder launched me into full-bodied Uh-oh Mode. What did I do? What didn’t I do?
I’m convinced this reaction is the result of having watched “The Trouble With Angels” way too many times, although there could be other reasons. A few incidents during a part-time pastoral associate stint come to mind. In any event, tap me on the shoulder (or shoot me a look) during liturgy and my adrenals kick into gear.
But what, really, was I worried about? Having just moved to Baltimore I had yet to find, let alone become visible to a church community. “It’s like going into the Witness Protection Program,” I quipped to friends back at my former home. Truth to tell, I was kind of liking that aspect.
But it was also true that I was feeling displaced, something I knew the structure of Mass would ameliorate, which is why I forced myself to go. Had I forced myself to go or had divine forces overridden my human resistance?
Either I didn’t hear — or didn’t believe what I was hearing — when the usher leaned over to murmur in my ear. When her whispered words finally entered my full awareness, they felt like a much-welcomed kiss of peace.
“Would you bring up the gifts?”