I made it through three services last night. I ran camera at one service, which is usually a struggle because Pastor likes to run a marathon while he speaks–and last night as he was prowling about, he forgot where a step was, so he actually fell off the raised platform he speaks from. He disappeared from view, so I’m zipping around with the camera in a panic–where’d he go?–and then he popped back up, laughing.
I need to start taking a video camera to high school basketball games so I can practice keeping up with Pastor.
Brad, my partner in crime, was on lights.
The Video was smack-dab in the middle of the message. Pastor talked about journeys, spiritual and otherwise, then he wondered aloud whether Mary and Joseph knew what they were in for. Brad took the lights down, and Mary and Joseph popped up on stage, holding a doll, in front of a fake fire. My idea of using a real fire in our new building got the axe really quickly, just like all my best ideas. Instead, Brad rigged a fake fire, where he buried a bulb in a pile of logs, and somehow he made it look real. Mary and Joseph wondered aloud what all the prophecies in the book of Isaiah regarding the Messiah meant. After a couple of minutes, Joseph left, leaving just Mary and the baby onstage. Our vocalist snuck up on stage, and I hit play on the camera (it’s the only miniDV device we have at the moment), and The Video–the popular song “Mary Did You Know?” set to pictures from The Visual Bible: Matthew, plus a few classic paintings by people like Rembrandt–played. And play it did, without a hitch, except for one spot where the audio clipped because it got louder than the camera could handle. Normalize, schmormalize. Next time I will. At the first service, Larry was singing when it clipped, so no one heard. At the other two services, his timing was a little different. Pastor heard it. I heard it. I don’t know if anyone else did. But every project has a flaw somewhere. Next time, I’ll run the music through a sound editor and normalize it myself.
Larry had asked when in the service he’d be singing. “The middle of the sermon,” I said. He looked at me like I was joking. Obviously he hasn’t worked with us enough.
Then, when the song and video ended, Pastor popped back up–at the back of the church, out of camera range. “The question isn’t ‘Mary, did you know?’ anymore, but it’s, ‘Do you know?'” Then he walked around, pointing to members of the congregation, asking if they know.
Good stuff. A few people cried through the video. There were people there to answer their questions. We survived. We sat around a little while after the 11:00 service, talking about it all. This was my first Christmas Eve service at my home church in more than 10 years, and the first one I’d had any involvement in. I don’t know if this is going to become an annual thing or not. If it does, I’m glad it’s once a year.
Blast from the past. At the 11:00 service, a former parish pastor-turned author who’s a member of our congregation gave the children’s message. “I snuck one of the presents from under our tree here tonight, tee hee hee,” he said with a sly look on his face. “It says right here on top: To Tim, with love. I wonder what it is…”
And that made me remember. My dad always knew everything he was getting. I never figured out how.
Until this year, that is. I was at a Christmas party, and the hosts’ son got to open one present at the party. So he was picking up packages, shaking them, trying to decide which one to place his bet on. I asked him if he’d like me to take some packages to the hospital for an x-ray…
And then I realized why Dad always knew what he was getting. Dad put himself through Med school working as… an x-ray technician! And then, once he got out of Med school, he worked as a radiologist–reading x-rays!
Which made me wonder… Would he? Well, Dad was just like me. Or the other way around, more likely, seeing as he came around first and all. So I guess the first question to ask is, would I?
So would my Dad?
You bet your last wooden nickel.
Another blast from the past. Next year, when I’m more bold, I’m gonna read the classic “Mary and Joe, Chicago Style” by Mike Royko. I’d link to it but unfortunately I can’t find it online anywhere anymore. The Trib seems to have taken down its Royko tribute. Nuts.