Monday, September 29, 2008

Purple Vestments

After talking with my family and my Bishop, and lots of prayer and thought, we decided to allow J to attend the Episcopalian boys' choir--at least until the end of the year when church schedules get all skeewompus. And yesterday was the first time he sang at a Service.

At rehearsal on Friday, the choir came down to into the cathedral and practiced what they'd be doing during the service. It was pretty overwhelming for me to watch, and I'd even done it before! I couldn't imagine how dizzy he must have been from all the things to keep in mind! Erich, the choirmaster, did give him and the other probationers (new boys) a break though. He said that during the procession that they should focus on walking, not singing. After a few times in a procession, he'd have them add in singing.

After rehearsal on Friday, J got new purple vestments (choir robes) and a ruff (a frilly thing worn around the neck) to wear during the service, and a blue blazer and grey slacks to wear to and from church. Erich showed J that some of the other boys wear a white...I'm not sure what it's called, but it's a waist-length shirt-thing worn over the vestment, and some boys wear medals so indicate their progress in the choir curriculum. I took that as my chance to put things in perspective.

I told him that since new choristers wear purple vestments without the white, that everyone in the congregation would know that he is new, so they wouldn't expect him to do things perfectly. If he messed up a little, it woul be okay, since he's still learning and everyone else would know that too. That took a lot of the pressure off him, and I'm glad.

Saturday night, I didn't get much sleep and neither did he.

Bright and early on Sunday morning we dressed, him in his uniform, me in a suit, and headed off to choir. The worst part of choir for me is navigating the unfamiliar one-way streets of downtown Lexington, but I managed to find the designated parking lot without too much difficulty. He practiced for about 40 minutes, then I went down to sit in the congregation while he put on his vestments and prepped.

The service was...different...from an L.D.S. service. I knew it would be different, and I already had some experience in how different it was, but I was still reeling a bit, trying to follow along. How did I ever do it as a boy?? And apart from the confession and absolution, and the recitation of the Nicene Creed--both admirable things, but not a part of our faith in the manner in which they are performed in the Episcopal church--the service was good, and uplifting. We also discussed beforehand that he receives the Sacrament at our church, and would not be taking the Communion at choir.

So afterwards, while driving to 3 more hours of church, at our church, I asked him what he thought of his first Service. He said he thought it was "neat" and "good" and that it went well. He admitted that he was a bit nervous, but repeated my own words back to me that it was okay if he messed up a little since everyone couls see by his purple robes that he was still learning. :) It's nice to know that they do listen sometimes.

One funny thing happened in the exit procession: J was walking along while looking around, and right when he got next to me he sneezed a great big sneeze. I had to chuckle.

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