Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday

While I was in Iowa, I got an email from the church asking if Gage could be a candlelighter at the Maundy Thursday evening service at church. He's only had the opportunity to be an Acolyte once so far, on Ash Wednesday, so we said yes. So, last night (Thursday) was the night. We had to be at the church by 6:30p as the service started at 7p and they needed to get instructions. The pastor's wife, Gwen, gave the instructions and when I learned that Gage would be sitting up in the chancel area during the entire service, I panicked! Gage sometimes has a hard time sitting through a normal service with us, let alone a special evening service without us! There were 2 candlelighters and the other boy is 2-3 years older than Gage and has been an Acolyte for awhile, so he was certainly more experienced. They each had a candleabra with about 7 candles each to light. After Gwen went over what they were supposed to do, I did a quick recap to make sure Gage knew what he was supposed to do. I was a nervous wreck! Not only did he have 7 candles to light, but the cross that had purple fabric draped over it just happened to be on Gage's side and I prayed like crazy that he wouldn't accidentally set it up in flames! Scott, Emma and I sat in the front row of pews on Gage's side so we could help him out if needed. (Unfortunately none of us knows sign language so it probably would have been a better idea to sit in the back of the church, where we couldn't see what was going on!) After all of the candles were lit, the boys were to sit in the seats on either side of the big pillar in the front of the church (normally the pastors sit in these seats). There would also be communion served, by intinction. I hate to admit it, but we had no idea what this meant. Thankfully I have friends that I feel comfortable asking these dumb questions to! (Thanks Juanita!) When Gwen was explaining to Gage about how he would be served communion I really got nervous. To take communion by intinction means to go to the front of the church, tear off a piece of bread from the loaf, then dunk it in the cup of grape juice. Did I forget to mention the candlelighters were in white robes? UGH! I kept telling Gage over and over that he isn't to completely saturate his piece of bread with juice, just dip it in a teeny tiny bit! I wasn't able to see how he did, but there were no grape juice stains on the robe, so I guess it was successful! It took a long time for communion and then there were several readers who took turns reading scripture from the Bible. The boys were instructed to put out a candle after each reading and AFTER the choir sang. They would do this until there were 2 candles left that were lit, then they would put the last 2 out at the same time. Well, needless to say, with communion taking so long and all of the other stuff, neither one of the boys were paying attention, and they were actually supposed to put the candles out BEFORE the choir sang. When it was time to start putting out candles, both of them were off in la-la land. Pastor Jake was trying to get the other boys' attention and after saying his name as loud as he could in a quiet whisper, he got his attention. Unfortunately Gage was on the other side and couldn't hear him and was still off in la-la land. I was trying to, as discretely as I could, get Gage's attention, without any luck. It seems like several minutes were passing by as he sat there in space. THANKFULLY, we have friends in high places (or in the right places anyway) and Juanita was able to get Gage's attention from the choir area. WHEW! He appeared startled when he finally discovered that it was time to start putting out candles. In the meantime, I can feel my neck turning all blotchy red and my ears on fire as my face turns a nice shade of burgundy. He pretty much stayed on cue with the remainder of the candles. When the choir stood up to sing after the initial candle was put out, I made eye contact with Juanita and mouthed to her "THANK YOU!" The service ended up being about 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Gage has never sat through a service of that length without complaining ALOT! You could see at times that his facial expressions were saying, "COME ON ALREADY!" He was also doing alot of yawning (our usual bedtime is 7pm, so that's not a shocker that he would be tired) and leaning on the wall he was standing next to. At the end of the service Pastor Jake slammed his Bible shut (thankfully we were informed of this beforehand) and left the sanctuary. It took a few seconds to convince Gage, using terrible sign language, that it was time to leave the sanctuary. I think he was relieved when it was finally over and I will remember this in the future..........DO NOT LET EMMA BE A CANDLELIGHTER AT THE MAUNDY THURSDAY SERVICE!

All of this to say, Gage actually did a great job! I was very proud of him and everyone told him he did a great job after the service. On our way out of the church, I once again gave much thanks to Juanita for saving the day! I'm not sure how anyone would have gotten his attention if she hadn't been in the choir area!

Emma was quite thrilled when I pulled this new outfit out of the closet for her to wear to church. I found it on sale at JCPenneys and we used the gift card she got for her birthday from her G'ma Stephens. She told me, "Mom, I would like this kind of stuff instead of toys!" YOU GOT IT DUDE! I would much rather spend money on clothes for her than toys. However, she doesn't always like my taste.

What cute kids we are so fortunate to have!

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