Yesterday’s funeral mass was held in the chapel. The seats were padded. As it is part of a retirement complex for church professionals I wasn’t altogether surprised to see nuns and priests. I was just surprised to see about 6 elderly priests all in vestments and 15 nuns in habits.
Not being a regular attendee at mass the use of English still seems new to me and I follow the kneeling, sitting, standing rituals as clumsily as a bemused proddy. The turning around and shaking hands greeting bit startles me and feels uncomfortably like a hug from a concerned marriage counselor.
Nevertheless I was impressed that they were using incense and I was moved by the look of serenity that washed and rejuvenated the faces of the frail priests and nuns in wheelchairs when they received the communion wafer. The combined effect of the incense and orqan music induced the reverie from old and I was thinking about death, my funeral, other funerals, belief in after-life and especially transubstantiation. My thoughts went to the communants who accept that this is the body and blood of Christ, not a representation. For some reason I drifted to Lacan, postmodernism and the hours we spent at school discussing transubstantiation, then back to belief, death and spirituality. It was a good mood, solemn, thoughtful, sad but not unhappy.
Then, just as the incense was swinging again, the silence was punctured by a mobile phone chirping in the chapel. I looked around for the idiot with a disapproving frown.
Even though it was only micro seconds, I’m still red faced at the thought of how long it took me punch off the phone after I registered that the vibration on my mobile was connected to the ringing.