I woke up early and read a good bit of the graphic novel about the beats written by Harvey Pekar and others.
A radio interview with Harvey Pekar on public radio in light of his recent passing reminded me I had only partially read this graphic novel.
I went to the 9.30 a.m. traditional service at the First United Methodist Church here in Allen. I arrived five minutes late, just as a young pianist was completing a fine rendition of Chopin's "Nocturne in E Flat Major". I enjoyed singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", but I sang it so forcefully I began to cough at the end. I must ease up next time and sing more softly, sing in falsetto, or sing a harmony part written to avoid such problems when the range of the song is a bit high for me.
Dr. Alyce McKenzie gave the sermon. She's a profesor of homilectics at Perkins School of Theology, which I believe means she teaches seminarians to give sermons. My wife and I enjoyed a lesson series she gave on the parables last year. Her sermon today was very good. She took as her text the part of 1 Corinthians about how
believers are all members of one body. She had congregation members illustrate the reading with a minor dramatci performance. Her talk discussed the way in which different people come together to form one body of believers. She pointed out people who can feel excluded--returning veterans of war who commit crimes here due to post-traumatic stress, for example, or neglected children, who have not been included, or gay people for whom the church is not welcoming. She urged the congregants to find ways to participate and to avoid exclusion. I love her quietly witty, insightful speaking style.
After her sermon, she was just leading the congregation into a one of those grafted-on new-ritual things which (to my mild non-preference) try to get people to leave their seats and go forward to the front, when an unexpected sadness took place. A member of the congregation noted that the man beside her, whom I believe was her husband, had had a health crisis. She feared he had died. Immediately, calm voices said "dial 911" and someone with a cell phone did call. Other people went to get resuscitation equipment. There were moments of waiting and uncertainty and prayer. Then there were moments when the congregation sang "Amazing Grace". I could not tell what exactly went on, but someone up front said that the person who had had the crisis had responded to the ministrations in some way. The paramedics finally came. While the paramedics worked on the situation on one side aisle, the ministers guided the congregation to the front of the church on the right to touch water in a ritual new to me which was a form of renewal of baptism. The congreation was understandably concerned, prayerful, stunned and living in a kind of pregnant silence. At length, the ministers dismissed us all with a benediction, eschewing the offertory and the postlude. The program said the postlude was to be Beethoven's "Sonata Pathetique".
I do not know the coda. Though some stayed on in the church, I took the dismissal as a dismissal. I drove home. I hope for the best. I was impressed with how the congregation and ministers dealt with things. The experience provided a palpable reminder of mortality.
After stopping by my house, and a lunch at a sandwich place, I drove to Bethany Lakes Park. The park was mostly empty, in light of the extreme afternoon heat. The small lakes at the park gave me chances to watch immature egrets fishing. I also like the color of the water.
I went to Ross Dress for Less to pick up some clothing I needed. I also got a frozen yogurt at Yogolicious. I went home and looked in our back yard. I saw a creature that looked like a moth with a bee-looking body, or a bee with moth wings. I must look up to see which category applies. I paid attention to our dogs.
I rented a pay-per-view of the French movie, Mia Hansen-Løve's "Le pere de mes Enfants" [The father of my children]". I found the film quite poignant and sad--a wonderful film about familial love and adversity. i do not speak French, and had to rely on the subtitles, but nonetheless found the film very nuanced, and found also that the dramatic device employed to foreshadow and tell the story did things just about right.
During the film, I sorted and did laundry. My wife returned home from an afternoon meeting, bearing sushi. A fellow courteously wrote me to say he was using my song "kestrel" in an upcoming on-line video, and asked for how I prefer to have it attributed. I resigned a postal chess game after only 20ish moves, after going badly astray playing the black side of a modern Steinitz. I wonder still about the health of the poor fellow this morning, and of his worried wife--and feel a little melancholy.