Monday, June 27, 2016


Noisily: when “acolyte” is a verb

As it arrived ominously from the north and east, we watched a small sailboat anchored in the Bay just off our porch, four people diving unconcerned. A fearsome streak of lightning off to the east, thunder rumbling steadily but never close. Heavens darkened, Bay blackened, storm came over like doomsday with everything but the doom, the sailors divers eventually hoisted anchor and moved away, sail flapping noisily.

Noisily. Acolyte, small boy with whom I could identify from seventy-five years ago, fiddled with his cross noisily through the sermon, tried noisily but unsuccessfully to catch the light in it and flash here or there, kept dropping it noisily against the wood pew. In time, to stop the adults and older boys from turning around and glaring at him, I collected his cross quietly, held it through the Prayers, Confession and Absolution, handed it back to him during The Peace. He was oblivious, bored, impatient, nothing to do but be still and quiet which, read Tom Sawyer or be one, is not a small boy gift. Wednesday evenings okay, but there was a reason why we had to wait until we were ten to acolyte Sunday mornings. Noisily clarifies Jesus’ commandment “Suffer the little children” as they suffer noisily, and helplessly suffer our adultness.

Burst of wind, light spray hinting rain that never came, it rumbled darkly off south and west, ending the day.


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