Sexton in the Sanctuary

My quiet time in the chapel was crackin’ me up because what I first thought were the worker guys planning a big job revealed in time to be a team of project fundraisers discussing fiduciary issues whose details were veiled by their location in a side vestibule. I fondly remember my time served in the Emmanuel Evangeline Lutheran Church. So many hours on my knees removing wax from the floor with a paper towel and an iron.

Late in the evening I would play the historic pipe organ that had been constructed there by two Italian brothers whose family had been doing it for generations. At the time it was the bicentennial celebration of the churches construction. Being the Sexton of the facilities was a large responsibility with a three buildings. My lodging was on the third floor of the former school building, on Thursday evenings the sounds of choir practice would waft up into my place. Down below the school was connected with space below the sanctuary, they shared a nursery, kitchen, and dining hall and the monstrosity of a furnace that still harbored the coal shoots from the street above. Just next door there was a rectory used as offices, because the Minister had a larger place just across Broadway.

I came in here to write about piano players in my family and the difference between gospel and honkey tonk, but I don’t want to write about that, but when I do I should add a part about Appalachian hoe down. Strange, the funding conundrum echoing through the chapel.

What use are all these vignettes? Like cheap plastic beads I can string them up into a Mardi Gras necklace and wrap them about my neck like an albatross. Do you think that being a sexton has any chance of partially redeeming me for the sin. I know I haven’t told you what the sin is…we don’t have time for all of that. I guess the question is, can one redeem themselves through work?
I love work. The Sexton job was one of the better placements that I have ever accepted. I especially enjoyed climbing up the bell tower and watching the ships sail the river.

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About m.a. wood

writer, thinker, musician, teacher
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