This will be a short post…mostly because John left to go home this morning, and I’m feeling down…and tired. It was so great to have him here, and it will be another two weeks + before I see him again. This is the part of going away to seminary that I hate.
I am posting today, though, because something happened today that I thought was notable and interesting enough to post.
Every Wednesday, we have 11am chapel for the entire seminary…students are required, although they are not taking roll call or anything. The faculty and staff are there, too. Today was my second time attending this service; both times, faculty have presided with a few students helping. The picture above is the chapel. It is set at the very top of the hill on which the seminary resides, and although the chapel really is not at all far from the neighboring buildings, there’s something about the way it is situated that makes it feel very remote and embedded in the beautiful nature that surrounds it.
When you enter the chapel, though, you feel as though you have somehow “escaped” nature. There are hardly any windows (just some slivers where a bit of light comes in), and very little color as the furnishings are basically all wood or white cement/stucco wall. It sounds drab, but there is some beauty to it. It feels very “high church,” if you know what I mean… very pious and sacred…but not really very warm. The largest object(s) in the chapel is the organ and its pipes. They are a bit overwhelming, really. There is also a beautiful, tall, simple wooden cross. But it is dwarfed by the organ pipes.
I was sitting up front, feeling melancholy with the loss of my husband for the next couple weeks, waiting for the service to begin. The organ was playing some music while everyone got situated. Then, the organ finished, the service began from the back of the chapel with a simple prayer at the baptismal font, and then… as those who were presiding began to process up to the front of the chapel, the organist, of course, began to play the entrance canticle “Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!” This was quite notable, though, because it was
I don’t mean loud like how commercials sometimes are a bit abrasive at a louder volume than the tv shows. I mean loud as in every single person in the room winced, and many instinctively put their hands over their ears. It literally hurt my ears (of course, I was sitting very close to the organ). I’m not sure what happened, but it pretty much jerked everyone to attention (and somewhat painfully). It wasn’t just the volume, though, it was also the hymn. “Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!” is a very… well… maybe the right word is jovial, or festive. It is a very upbeat celebration hymn, and with the organ sound in that very acoustic room, it was as though we were IN the organ. Those who were processing visibly jumped and looked over at the organ, but then continued to process. The best part, though, the reason I’m writing this story, is what happened when the procession was over.
The faculty member who was presiding (who I believe is going to be my favorite faculty member here for many reasons), before continuing with the liturgy, said, “Wow,” with a somewhat shocked look on her face, “Wasn’t that wonderful?” Now, please keep in mind that “wonderful” was not the word that jumped to my mind. I was actually a bit annoyed by the sounds that did not sound like “church music” to me. Then, the faculty member continued, “It’s like the Carousel of Christ!”
Her description was perfect. Yes. The Christ Carousel. My descriptions above of festive and jovial are my attempts to describe the carousel music that we hear being blasted at the top volume when going to festivals. The entire idea of a Christ Carousel was so humorous to me; I immediately forgot my annoyance and found a slight appreciation for that awful reverberating, banging, too-loud organ. It even jerked me just a bit out of my melancholy mood. The Christ Carousel… perfect. 🙂
I don’t think I’m doing the story justice here, but it was the funniest part of my day. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll blog a bit about the fascinating Mormonism class I had tonight. 🙂