I don’t follow Country Music (or any popular music) these days, and I was never a Sammy Kershaw fan. But, when I saw this picture of a railroad car converted into an Orthodox Chapel, that song “She’s the Little Queen of My Double Wide Trailer” came to mind.
We once converted a three car garage into a very nice little Orthodox “temple” — complete with blue onion dome — which looked surprisingly similar to the one pictured here.
Our first Divine Liturgy in that space was on Pentecost Sunday, 1996 — before the renovation. In other words, we “did church” in an honest to goodness garage. With no air conditioning (and how many three car garages have windows?), we had to serve the Liturgy with the garage doors rolled up, wide open.
As is always the case, but especially under such circumstances, the celebrant keeps one eye on the Chalice for uninvited communicants. The flies — be the wine consecrated or other — are just plain gluttons. Lacking basic table manners, much less piety, they end up diving in and usually drowning. [Remember, in a previous post, when I said that the Chalice won’t hurt you? This does not pertain to flies.]
On this particular day, obviously due to the joy of the moment (in a new space and all), I failed. That is, just before lifting the Chalice to my lips I peeked in to see … not one … not two … not four … but …
… five comatose flies floating on the top of the consecrated wine.
I struggled, I gasped. I was aghast. Priests are taught that whatever is in the consecrated Cup must be consumed. At that particular moment, please forgive me, I quickly came up with Plan B. That is, I took the spoon and fished out the little fellas and laid them on a spare napkin. I thought, in my slight panic, that I would deal with them later, after communing the faithful.
I communed the faithful.
When I returned to the altar, the drunk swimmers were, gasp again, gone.
Now, here’s where an overly scrupulous young priest’s imagination can run wild:
“Okay … I’m supposed to consume those flies … I’m responsible … There’s a fly flying by my head now! Is that one of them? Should I eat him? How do I know he’s one of the five? Good Lord. This is crazy. WWJD? Stop it! Wait. Was there really five of them? Stop it!“
Then, I spotted him …
He was returning to the altar (through the wide open garage door) slapping and rubbing his hands together, big grin on his 80 year old face: “Flies,” he said. “I took care of them.”
There’s no point to this little story … Just a thank you to all who appreciate this site and voted it, once again, Funniest in the annual Eastern Christian New Media Awards contest.
But, I dunno, looking at that picture (above) and thinking it all over, especially with Country Music in mind … Who knows what flies are thinking?
“I hear that Church a-comin’ … It’s comin’ ’round the bend … and I ain’t been to Communion, since, I don’t know when …”
(Thanks to Jimmy Midland, with apologies to Johnny Cash and Sammy Kershaw.)