Believe it or not, there is a lot of drama going on behind the altar before Mass starts -- the hustle and bustle of getting changed in a small area, the dispensing of job assignments, the rush to find a replacement for a server who didn't show up, and the running around with last minute requests (a glass of water, forgotten notes, a tissue).
Altar Server Stories. That's what we call them around here ...
Recently my son had to serve at a funeral, something he has done on several occasions. This time, however, he was the lead and for the first time had to prepare the thurible with incense. He wasn't sure of amounts, so to be safe he put in a little extra of everything.
Holy smoke! That wasn't smoke gently wafting toward the heavens; it was a veritable thundercloud hovering overhead. Afterwards the priest said, "A little heavy there on the incense."
The problem: a brand new processional candle didn't fit snugly into the candle holder, thus causing it to wobble (not a good thing when it's lit and you're processing into the church). So an intense discussion ensued on how to stop the candle from wobbling.
Picture, if you will, three boys huddled around a candle and a candle holder, with a box of matches, melting the bottom of the candle with the hopes that once inserted into the candle holder it will stick.
They light matches. They drip wax. Then Timothy, determined to make that darn thing stick in place, exerted a little too much pressure and the brand new candle snapped right in half. Now picture, if you will, three boys looking at each other in horror.
Then it was confession time. Timothy went to the priest, told him what happened, and the priest laughed and said, "Don't think anything about it. Here's another brand new candle. Have at it."
There is a certain finesse to carrying a candle without burning your bangs, or lighting a candle without catching your sleeve on fire. Candles, matches, fire. An altar server knows fire safety. Why, just look at my son lighting a match right next to that box of tissues. Safety first.
Eyes Wide Open
"Nonnno says he can sleep with his eyes wide open," announces Nicholas.
I think Nonno is pulling your leg," I reply.
"Actually, I can do that," says Jonathan. "Sometimes, when I am altar serving, it's like I regain consciousness and the homily is halfway over. That's why I like to alter serve ... it helps the time go by quickly."
Do you have any Altar Server Stories? Do tell ...