Today I was called upon to preside at the Communion Service for Ash Wednesday. I expected maybe 50 people would be there, so my first shock was stand by as nearly 200 people filed into church.
Then a few things went wrong with the service, beginning with horrible feedback from the sound system so no one could hear anything and we had to turn it off.
But when all was said and done, and people were filing out of church with the little ashen crosses on their foreheads it occurred to me that Liturgy is beautiful. No matter how many technical difficulties and how many mistakes are made we come together to share our common faith. We stand and pray together, we listen to the Word of God, We sing, we file up to receive ashes and Communion (at two different times) and for that short amount of time we are One. We are the body of Christ, and nothing as irrelivent as the sound system or a forgotten prayer will ever take that away from us.
All those people who were there in church tonight know what is important. Most of them came up to me after Mass to let me know that everything was fine.
I am really glad that it is over. The first time is always hardest, and now that my first time is over I am sure next time -- which will hopefully be in five or ten years -- will go much more smoothly.