In the Harry Potter series, Harry enrolls in a class called "Transfiguration," that teaches spells for changing the character of the object. For example, in one scene of "Philosopher's Stone," Prof. McGonagall transfigures her desk into a pig and back. Harry gets lots of practice in his class and as we know, he does some after-class practicing with his classmates.
This quarter, I'm taking Liturgical Practicum. It's the class where we learn the appropriate and rubrically recommended movements for the Eucharistic Prayer. We'll practice with actual hosts, but with water instead of wine. Oh, and we get to wear the accompanying vestments.This is the course I've been anticipating all year.
What surprises have I found? Well, for one, upon review of the "rubrics," I learned that there are fewer movements and gestures needed than are customarily used. Much of the movements are simply elegant, welcoming gestures that invite the congregation into the moment. That's a relief!
Further, I am surprised how difficult it is to pace myself and set the cadence for an entire congregation. In my course, there are only three other students and one supervising instructor priest. In a giant sanctuary, it's really hard to get a "read" on how the "congregation" is participating (or not!). I learned that I need to slow down.
Finally, I am surprised how different it is to say the "other" parts. I'm familiar with the responsive side, not the offering side, as in, "The Lord be with you." "And also with you." I usually say the "and also" part. But as Presider, I'll say the "The Lord" part. Thankfully, that's why there is the Altar Book to guide and facilitate the Presider remarks.
I'm grateful for a time to practice, practice, practice. And for the knowledge that in the end, it is Love that really matters.
What are you practicing in this moment?
An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. - Mahatma Gandhi