To The Chapel… Again

Another wedding, another of The Husband’s co-workers.

The wedding was held at the Episcopalian Saint-Barnabas-In-The-Ritzy-Neighborhood Church, in Paradise Valley. The church is beautiful. The grounds are beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful.

We walked in and were handed programs. This particular program was jam-packed with psalms and prayers of which I am entirely ignorant. We sat down in a pew on the left-hand side of the church and pretended to know which side of the church we belonged on. They weren’t seating people as they usually do, and the whole “bride or groom’s side?” question was never asked. I hope we didn’t make a faux pas of some sort. Oh well.

The thing I learned about Episcopalians is this: Church services are not classified as a spectator sport. There’s a whole lot of stand up, sit down, let’s sing, raise your hands, do the hokey-pokey type stuff. At first we stood as the wedding party came down the aisle and continued to stand for the bride. Then we stood while they said their vows. We stood for a prayer. We stood as people dressed in funny white robes walked down the aisle with candles on sticks and an abstract art-inspired cross thingy. We stood and stood and stood.

Another thing I learned about Episcopalians: You’re supposed to answer the priest/pastor/Father/whatever at key points in the sermon. Seriously, after various phrases of prayers and sermons, the assembled masses that knew what they were doing said something in return. I don’t know what they said exactly. The Husband and I were too busy looking at each other and going, “Huh?” They did it a few times during the wedding and I never could catch on to what the hell was going on.

The Third Thing I Learned About Episcopalians: They have a lot of books in the pew, and they expect that you will know which one to open when the appropriate time comes. Again, The Husband and I were hopelessly lost. We’d finish a prayer, and then suddenly everyone would have a book in their hands and start singing. I never did figure out which book it was supposed to be. There were at least seven books right in front of me and they weren’t very well labeled. (I left my Episcopal Church-Going For Dummies at home. Doh.)

Because the bride and groom were very active in this church, nearly everyone there was part of the congregation at Saint-Barnabas-Of-The-Obscenely-Wealthy. As a result, just about everyone knew these secret signs and cues that we missed out on. A memo or a cheat sheet would have been helpful. I felt very strange not singing, or reading along with the prayers in the book, and it seemed like everyone in the whole damn church KNEW we weren’t participating and were staring at us.

(HEATHEN IN OUR MIDST!! ALERT, SOUND THE ALARMS!! AAAIIIOOOOOGGGGGAAAAA, AAAAIIIIOOOOGAAAA!!!!!)

Oh, and there was the whole kissing thing. They finished a psalm or prayer of some sort, and suddenly everyone’s kissing. (Their spouses, I mean.) So… we kissed too, because… everyone was doing it? And then everyone started shaking hands with their neighbors and saying, “Peace be with you!” And you had to shake everyone’s hand around you and wish them peace, because… huhwha? It’s a nice thought, but… again, I would have liked a head’s-up.

And then came the fun part: Communion. They wanted us all to come up and kneel before the funny-robed dudes and receive the body and blood of Christ, etc etc. And here is posed a moral dilemma: Do we get up and join along with the rest of the assembled sheepage, or do we stick out like a sore thumb and keep our asses on the pew? Although I don’t believe in any of this ritualistic bother, I do believe in being respectful of the ritualistic bother. I didn’t want to be rude, but I really didn’t want to participate in this. It’s one thing to pretend to pray, but it’s another to take part in a ritual of that sort. After much thought on the matter, we did what the people next to us did: nothing. We formed our own tribe of sheepage and let the others have their grape juice and crackers. (Besides, I was a little worried about getting my red Chanel lipstick on the holy chalice.) (Oh, and there is a worry for germs if everyone’s drinking out of the same cup. I mean, geez, can you say cooties? Influenza? Plague??)

After the ceremony, we all headed off to the reception. We got fed, yeehaw! At first we all found our seats and milled about, amusing ourselves with hors d’oeuvres and fruity punch. The snackies were mostly crackers, cheese, and some sort of unidentifiable spread that was good even if we didn’t know what we were eating. Then we were served lunch, which consisted of a nice salad and two crepes. One crepe was spinach, the other chicken. The chicken was preferred at our table. We got cake later, and it had cute little flowers on it. I traded my piece for The Husband’s because his had a pink flower on it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that all of The Husband’s co-workers who attended and their wives sat together at the same table. And, yes, Mr. Tie was there. (My husband was very sure to point out Mr. Tie’s real name to me before the wedding because I always call him that. “Will Mr. Tie be at the wedding?” “How was Mr. Tie today?”) The Infamous Mr. Tie of legendary lore was wearing the same tie he’s so proud of. (See my previous post about the last wedding if you aren’t familiar with Mr. Tie. He’s a personal favorite of mine.) He was on his best behavior and shared with us a story about a strange health problem of his. He apparently has a habit of just passing out for a few minutes, usually when he’s eating. As he said, it feels like suddenly “there’s no oxygen going to the brain.” It is a testimony to my acting skills that I didn’t guffaw. (“Brain? You?? Oh, you kidder!”) He also caused a few moments of table-wide silence with a few of his lamest jokes, but at least he didn’t give another lecture on creationism. (What a shame, eh? I would have had more to blog about. I count on people like Mr. Tie for these things.)

Happiness to the Newlyweds, and God Bless Mr. Tie.


One Response to “To The Chapel… Again”

  1. Beer Says:

    Hmm, still can’t tell what the difference between an Episcopalian and uh…some other kind of church people by some other name. 😛 Sounds like those charismatic church people minus the insane bopping and “modern” looking church. You can always tell who the heathen is by who doesn’t raise their arms completely outstretched. 😛 Whether this is the raise your arms and pray or wave your arms and sing, you still feel like Harry from Third Rock. *hold up arms* Message from the Big Giant Head ending in 3…2…1…*achoo* or shalalala…*80s dance* I’m surprised they didn’t drag you both away to get dunked or something. 😛 You guys are amateurs, when there are seven books in front of you, you take one, spend some time intently flipping like you know exactly where the page is, and then hold the book so that no one can see the cover, and mouth along. Having seven books is far less trouble than having no books at all and the strange person standing next to you offers to share. *cower* “This is my favourite song/passage/thing!” *internal shriek*
    I haven’t seen the Communion bit in years, the last time was when i was a little beerling, during one of the few occasions I went with my mom to church. “Mommy, where are you going?” “Communion” “What is the paper (it looked like a small round piece of paper to me)thingy?” “The body” “So…what’s it made of?” “It’s a wafer, probably flour and water” “Like an ice cream cone?” “…” And as I was a smart young beerling, this did not go into a long discussion of whether we’re made of flour and water too (not that I thought so). 😛 And I sat there and fell asleep while the train of people staring at me went along in their trip for grape juice. 😛 Although I still can’t understand the concept of, let us spend muchomucho time praising and saying our god’s all shiny and fantastic, and then we shall come together and munch on his symbolic body and ve vill drink his blood. Rawr!! Okay, I’m sure it’s not like that to them…I can feel little fireballs aimed at this heathen already. 😛 But seriously, if some stranger came up to you and McDs and sipped at your coke with a straw, you’d prolly not wanna touch it anymore. But when tons of people drink out of the same cup, it’s okay…eventhough they might be drooly and have syphillis and gangrene (screw influenza, gangrene!!!!). 😛 Gosh I sure hope only heathens are reading this page…:P
    I sure hope you get to go to many more weddings with Mr Tie, surely one of the times you’ll finally get to catch him passing out. Hopefully in a nice plate of something gooey (do we serve gooey things at weddings?). 😛

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