Google Review of Bishop’s Visitation (368)

Recently, I made an Episcopal Visitation to one of our congregations and, lo and behold, a Google Review was posted afterward by a person going by the internet name “Church Rat.” I found this fascinating. So, as Rod Serling would’ve said: “presented for your approval,” the following is a Google Review of that Sunday, or so I’m led to believe.

I arrived at the church about 5 minutes before the service and was welcomed by a man at the front door. He introduced me to a lady standing next to him. I must’ve looked like a “rookie” because she told me that I should sit with her. I complied and followed her to the back pew. She said this was her regular “perch.” Without saying more, she flipped down some mechanism underneath the pew in front, knelt on it, crossed herself (I assume she was doing that – she did it so fast she could’ve been signaling for the baserunner to steal 2nd base). When she finished what she was doing (praying, I guess, as her lips were moving silently while her eyes were squeezed shut), she sat back down, smiled at me, and said: “Just do what I do.”

The organ music which had been playing softly in the background suddenly became loud and everyone stood up, so I did, too. Down the center aisle came a long line, first young people dressed in red robes with white gowns over them, then what appeared to be the choir (dressed in similar fashion), followed by the clergy, dressed like James Brown did when he was on stage. At the end of the line, was this old man, arrayed in quite an outfit, with a large white pointy hat on his head. My “guide” turned and whispered loudly: “That’s our bishop.” I was unimpressed. Even with all the fancy clothes, he didn’t strike me as much.

After the music ended, there were a series of prayers and Bible readings. Then this “bishop” spoke. I guess it was supposed to be a sermon. He didn’t stand in their pulpit, rather he stood in the aisle near the front pews. He seemed highly amused with himself and evidently thought he was funny as he laughed at his own lame stories. I’ve heard a lot of preaching in my time, but he didn’t scare me much. He did mention the blood of Jesus one time and I got a bit wobbly, but he just kept talking about God’s love, following Jesus, you know, blah, blah, blah. He had exchanged his white pointy hat for a purple beany. I don’t know why though. The service went on from there until they passed the plates for money.

My “guide” was sweet. She tried to get me to go up with her for the bread and wine, but I declined. It’s flu season, after all. When the service (finally) ended, she asked: “Well, what did you think?” Wasn’t it wonderful!” I smiled and agreed. She invited me “next door” for coffee and what she called “treats,” but I hightailed it home. Maybe I’ll go back when the bishop isn’t there. There was something mysterious and compelling about the whole thing. I’d like to try the bread and wine after flu season is over.

I wish you a holy Lent as we show hospitality to all and prepare ourselves for the Easter Resurrection, which is on April Fool’s Day this year. How about that?



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