The View from the Sacristy: A Behind the Scenes Glimpse
March 18, 2015 Comments Off on The View from the Sacristy: A Behind the Scenes Glimpse
It looks so ordered and neat when the doors open for each service on Sunday and the singing starts and the procession makes its way to the altar. Yet what goes on before this point? What’s happening in the sacristy, that room off to the left that you pass on your way to coffee hour?
Well, in a word, lots!
As a member of both the Acolytes’ and the Altar Guilds, I spend a lot of time in the sacristy on Sunday mornings. This is service I feel honored to partake in. Even in the hustle and occasional chaos of Sunday morning: ‘John Smith just called and can’t serve as chalice this morning’. ‘Who has the matches?’ ‘Can someone help me find a cassock that FITS???!!’ ‘Where’s the MC??’. Yup, there are times when it seems that maybe this week’s worship will be a disaster.
But you know what? It never is. It always comes off, not necessarily perfectly, but Jesus is worshipped. Right before the altar guild members opens the door to the sanctuary and we get ready to process, the clergy and all the servers center themselves in prayer: ‘As the deer longs for the water brook, so longs my soul for you, O God’. We prepare for the sacred work that we are called to do. At that point, the myriad things that have distracted us – a missing server, a wobbly candle in a torch, a smudge on a surplice – all fade away. We are there to serve. We are there to worship.
Every Sunday when I enter the sacristy, whether as Altar Guild member getting the chalices and vestments ready, or as a server carrying a torch or bearing a chalice at communion, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve God and the community of St Luke’s. And if there’s a smudge on my surplice, that’s all right. Jesus won’t mind.
– Michael Cudney