Sunday was a bit different this week, since I did not have to go to choir practice before church, but instead went to a special practice afterwards. It was colder today, and leaves were falling like rain. Father Joe gave a hilarious sermon today on the subject of the wise and foolish maidens. In Jesus’ parable, the wise virgins have oil for their lamps, while the foolish ones do not. When the bridegroom is late, they all fall asleep. When he comes, in the middle of the night, only the wise maidens can light their lamps and go to the wedding feast.
Father Joe had all the kids in the congregation come to the chancel steps. There he showed them an oil lamp. None of the children had seen one before. He tried to light it, but he had no oil in it. “Who has some oil?” From the rear of the church came, “I have some in my purse.” Little James was sent for the oil but came back empty-handed. “She wants money for the oil.” A volunteer was found who paid two dollars for the oil. James gave the lady her money and brought the oil to the chancel, where Father Joe eventually lit the lamp.
I thought it was a uniquely clever and painless way to use the Gospel lesson of the day for the fund-raising sermon. It’s pledge time at St. Luke’s. I had already sent in my pledge card, which made the sermon much more enjoyable!
Mick came to drive me to the R’s, who were hosting the practice. The practice itself was preceded by a pot-luck luncheon, and for my offering, Mick brought along the last of Mel’s Benedictine Sandwiches from our Channeling Intensive 3 Gathering, plus the sandwiches which Gary had made from the last of Mel’s Worcestershire Cheese Ball, all nicely cut into quarters. It was a great way to use up our delicious leftovers! We spent about two hours eating and then practicing Christmas music.
Then Mick and I sat down for our one film of the day, Death-Defying Acts. It was an interesting piece starring Guy Pearce as an entrancing Harry Houdini and Catherine Zeta-Jones as an equaly appealing stage psychic who hopes to win a prize for telling Harry what his mother’s last words were. Saiorse Ronan, playing Zeta-Jones’ daughter beautifully, surprises everyone, herself most of all, by falling into a fugue state near the film's end and coming up with the answer. Timothy Spall was particularly effective, poignantly protective and ever upset, as Houdini’s harassed manager.
Set in 1926, when Houdini was touring the British Isles, the film was chock full of excellent production values. The costumes were absolutely stunning. Director Gillian Armstrong created a nuanced, subtly chiaroscuro atmosphere where lights glowed and shadows abounded, no matter what the setting. I greatly enjoyed this movie. She even brought the film in at 97 minutes – short and sweet by today’s standards. It was a fine story, very well told.
We took a break, and I went straight to bed for a delicious nap. Mick roused me for supper and then the Gaia Meditation, at which he offered the closing prayer.
Gary breeezed in for a short visit after his sweat lodge, which he thought was just great. He suggested we include one at our next Homecoming. It's a good idea!