Sunday, October 4, 2009

Communion with the Gods

Today, I preached at the church I attend, for the second time. It's World Communion Sunday, celebrated by Christians all over the world as well as some members of other religions (Muslims, Jews, etc.). The focus is on spiritual unity rather than religious division. I chose to spend most of my sermon touching on a variety of messages of unity, and I really enjoyed being there today.

I also, for the first time, served Communion. The bread and wine had been blessed by our pastor yesterday before she left on her holiday, but I was the one handing out the wine, helped by one of our deacons. I hadn't even gotten to the "handing out" part, when I managed to spill the wine. All down the front of me. LOL!

Luckily, everyone was very understanding, and I shrugged it off and moved onward and upward. After the service, one of the people who admitted to being the most nervous about having a pagan at the pulpit came up to me to tell me that I got the "graciousness" award for moving right along after my mishap.

And I did move right along... with wine literally dripping off my stole, and the paper on which was written the actual words I was supposed to say over the bread. People carefully avoided the large wine stain on the sanctuary carpet as they took their bread and wine. It was wonderful, though.

Some words on communion. I think of communion in two ways: first, as the "communion of souls" which happens at any decent religious service or spiritual meeting, and second, the bread and wine offered at Christian services. I talked a lot about the first type today, and then served the second type.

Up until today, I had always thought of communion at a Presbyterian church as being largely symbolic in nature. I know the Catholics believe in transubstantiation, but the Presbyterians do not. It's still bread and wine. Well, when I went to cut up the bread, it was as if I had shuffled through shag carpeting and touched a piece of metal - there was a spark. It was... interesting, to say the least.

I had a wonderful time, despite my minor mistakes. I could see the heads nodding as I talked, and the couple of puzzled looks led me to explain things more than I had first intended, and that brought about more nods.

Later today, I plan on going up the hill for a little bit to commune with Artemis at her temple. The girls will be over to help clean and tend to it next weekend, but I wanted to go up and have a bit of quiet time. It's hunting season here (just bow so far, but as of Nov. 1st it'll be muzzle loader), and I want to go get a feel for the area before shooting things up there. I'm thinking of putting a salt lick at the temple itself, as that means no hunting will take place within the actual temple boundaries. The law states that you can't hunt at a bait station, and salt is a bait. It isn't that I think Artemis would be upset by people hunting deer around her temple (quite the opposite, in fact), but that I don't trust all the hunters to be careful about where their shots end up. This way, they have to stay far enough away to minimize damage.

In a couple of days it will be the day I spend on Dionysian things, and I will be taking straw up to put at the base of my grape vines. I'll clean off the altar stone, and do a bit of meditation up there, and do some house cleaning at my room shrine, too.

All in all, things are going well. I'm thrilled with how the Agrotereion is coming along, and pleased as punch over the way things are going at church. My seminary homework is done, and on time, and will be mailed tomorrow morning to my dean. Tomorrow I also embark on listening to the class mp3s, learning about the religions we're studying. I'm looking forward to that!
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