Monday, October 24, 2011

Reading Week Sigh of Relief

Today marks the beginning of Reading Week. No, not Fall Break - this is not intended as a vacation. This is a week when classes and chapel do not meet, but we still have work to do and assignments to finish. It is, however, a big sigh of relief. My brain gets to rest and not work at quite so frantic a pace (until I look ahead to the rest of the semester). I spent today nestled into the apartment and indulging my inner monastic soul with a quiet rhythm of work and prayer as the world went by outside the window.

This past weekend I was refreshed with a picnic at Stinson Beach and a long walk through Muir Woods. What a joy to sink into the silence of that forest and be reminded to "be still and know that I am God". It made a great opening for this week, a day of sabbath after the frantic pace of the last two weeks of papers and meetings.

Sunday we went to the chapel at Moffett Field. There is a lovely history of the chapel at the bottom of this page, complete with pictures of most of the stained glass windows. Having met with the Lutheran Chaplain at Camp Parks (who is also responsible for worship at Moffett Field) I was interested to see what a more liturgical, by the book, protestant service might look like. I felt much more at home, and realized that the appearance of a place has a great deal of influence on me. This was a chapel in the old-fashioned looks-like-a-small-church sense. The chaplain was as delighted as I was when she showed me the fabulous way that this space was built to accommodate Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish services by having a turntable split into thirds where the altars and Tabernacle sit; each is turned to face the congregation for the appropriate time. The Tabernacle is plain, and looks a bit like a cupboard. The Catholic third has a lovely Tabernacle below a large crucifix and large statues of John and Mary on either side. The Protestant third has what I would describe as an altar that has a brass cross on it and some flowers that coordinate with other arrangements placed in the sanctuary. The service was simple but recognizable as a mixture of the various liturgical types of worship and was based on the Order of Protestant Worship in the Book of Worship for United States Forces 1974.

The first part of this week is being spent catching up on school work, papers, and assorted paperwork. On Thursday we head out for a brief but overdue visit to my in-laws in Oregon. I am truly looking forward to the trip as we will be driving through some beautiful scenery and have a couple of side trips planned. A true break from the work of seminary and a lovely breath of time to rest in God's grace apart from the "usual" places.

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