SoCS: contrasts

I attended vigil Mass this afternoon at a church in the town across the river. Everything seemed to be arranged to afford the most contrast. The pews finished in a blond or clear stain over a cream floor contrasted with a dark-stained wood ceiling with multicolored stenciling. The white marble, ornately carved altarpiece surrounding the tabernacle and the white walls contrasted with the deep blues and reds of the stained glass windows.

The silence after the end of the prelude contrasted with the loud organ and miked songleader and the congregation singing the opening hymn. (I’ll spare you the treatise on the techniques of leading congregational singing as an organist and the  – let’s call it – discrepancies from the ideal that I experienced.) Even the contrast of the ancient instrument playing music written within my lifetime that was composed to be played by guitars and other instruments.

The biggest aural contrast was between the voice of the pastor who was presiding at the liturgy and the answering voice of the congregation.  The priest is from Nigeria and speaks with a very distinct accent. I think that his first language was a tribal one and that he later learned English in school. The answering voices were speaking in American-accented English. Although the parish was founded by Polish immigrants – the inscriptions on the Stations of the Cross and the stained glass windows are all in Polish – the current congregation is largely generations removed from “the old country.” A recent parish merger brought in descendants of immigrants from other Eastern European countries and the entire congregation today was European-American. I find that listening to Father Charles praying and preaching makes me focus in a new way, exactly because I need to be extra-attentive because of his unfamiliar pronunciations and cadence.

There was one other thing that being at Mass today brought to me, not as a contrast, but as a gift. The Stations of the Cross, which are often paintings or bas relief, in this church are actually wall-mounted sculptures. From my seat in the pew along the wall, the sculpture of one of the men helping Jesus from the first fall was looking directly at me. It was comforting to see an expression of concern and compassion watching over me as I prayed with the rest of the assembly. An extra gift and grace for today.

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week was most/least. Come join us! Find out how here:
socs-badgeBadge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

And might as well add Linda’s Just Jot It January link: You can join that, too!


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