On Wednesdays I send off our church bulletin to the church secretary who prints it off for Sunday. I took the job on three years ago with Banana Jo and we did it together for about six months before she up and moved to Buenos Aires. Of all the things I have done in Brazil, this ranks right up there with the best use of my time. Now I know that Joshua Judges Ruth is not just a song by Lyle Lovett, they are three sequential books in the Old Testament. In the beginning it took me a couple of hours a week but now that we have completed 3 years of the liturgical calendar, all I am doing is cutting and pasting. Recently, I learned how to copy and paste a Google image onto the cover of the bulletin; I have never mastered borders so leave them off. My goal was to get three years of bulletins on CDs so that the next person would not have to reinvent the wheel and retype everything. Furthermore, when the average age of one’s congregation is 70+, finding someone to take over my spot would be a tough sell without an easy to use system in place. (Gerald has graciously agreed to start taking over for me in April so I can concentrate on getting the CDs ready.)
Occasionally I also have to choose hymns which I do based on 1) recognition of hymn 2) ease of singing hymn (can I follow the notes up and down?) and 3) whether or not there are any scriptural cross references. If Eduardo is absent from church, singing can take on a funereal aspect if the hymn does not meet any of my criteria. With an average attendance of 20 people, I have been forced to sing, and like prophecy, this is not one of my gifts.
This week’s Gospel is on the Prodigal Son. Even though I am still Bible illiterate, I have heard this story numerous times. (The liturgical calendar ensures that you hear the most important parts of the Bible every three years). No matter how many times I hear that story, I still identify with the older son, damn it. “Why don’t you kill the fatted calf for me? I’ve been a relatively good girl.” Maybe this is because I am the oldest child? More likely it is because the teenage years are still in front of me and I will need to learn to forgive wayward children. It does not speak well of my maturation process, to be honest, even though, intellectually I understand the parable and have felt the joy of forgiveness from my own parents. My mother once told me that I’d rather be right than happy, a point I do not readily dispute but one I am trying to work on.
This Sunday Buddy’s godfather, the Rev. Douglas Carter from Tampa, Florida, will be officiating and his wife Susan will come to our rescue in the singing department. Perhaps this Sunday I will stop identifying with the oldest son. For sure, we will be eating a fatted calf with the Reverend. We’re lunching at the Montana Grill right after the service and there is nothing like cupim or picanha to celebrate having visitors.