CHUUUUCH!!!

Now, I don’t know how much of a shocker this might be for some of you. I’m actually a pretty devout Christian. I may not scream out “Church Guy” when you speak to or hang out with me. I cuss on the regular, get bent, listen to primarily hardcore rap and watch explicit movies/shows and take interest in all types of irreverent, low-life nonsense. However, you better believe that I am a Christian to the core.

I’ve been in the Episcopal Church my entire life where I have actively served in many capacities. Among said activities, the most prominent in my church life is acolyting (you might know it better as being an altar boy, but I’m a grown ass man). Yes, every Sunday, I vest in my alb and cincture and usually serve as crucifer though now I’m a BAWSE (sarcasm but I am a head acolyte) and help the youngins by giving them direction and filling in where needed. As a sidenote, I always wanted to be a thurifer, but I’m too short and uncoordinated to do a good job at that. I would really be peeved if we did it THIS big during services and I couldn’t do it.

With all that said, In the words of the most venerable Sam “Ace” Rothstein: “There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that *I* do it. You understand?” Let’s leave it at that.

After I got dressed, I headed out. This is one of the joints I was listening to:

These special services are always awkward to me. I’m a “meat and potatoes” type of guy when it comes to church services. All I need is an organ, HYMNS (sorry, but I’m not a fan of the popular, redundant, nursery school gospel songs) and incense. It irks me to hear drums during the processional hymn personally. It’s kind of like making a hybrid between this and this. It’s just weird to me, but that’s just the way I was brought up. Not knocking anybody.

But here’s the order of the service:

The First Reading:
Amos 6:1a 4-7:
Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, They eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment. They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph! Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

The Psalm
Psalm 146 (read beautifully by yours truly)
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD, O my soul! *
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.

3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.

4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the LORD their God;

5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps his promise for ever;

6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
and food to those who hunger.

7 The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; *
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

8 The LORD loves the righteous;
the LORD cares for the stranger; *
he sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.

9 The LORD shall reign for ever, *
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Hallelujah!

The Epistle (or Second Reading)
1 Timothy 6:6-19
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

The Holy Gospel
Luke 16: 19-31
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

The sermon was given by Min. Vernord Mark Cowan of Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, PA. Of course it was a call for men to step up and be men. By now, to me, these sermon’s are becoming like surveillance videos in cornerstores. If nothing happens, they just get re-used over and over again until something does, but each time it’s copied over, the quality get worse and worse (Oooo! The bul deep!)(and that’s not a diss by the way if you were gonna take it there).

The most important part of the service for this hombre is Communion. We get to take in the body and blood Christ (no cannibal). Though I do all the time, this is the point of the week that I make sure to pray most sincerely. I put it ALL out on the table, the good, the bad and the ugly. This is the best time to do so to me because I have just COMMUNED with my man Jesus. It find of reminds me of that boy Luca Brasi at Connie’s wedding. He could thank Don Corleone any time he damn well pleased, but it meant a lot more on that special day. I doubt the Divine would ask me to go try to double-cross a Sollozzo though.

Much to my pleasure, one of the songs during communion was Blessed Assurance which is surely on my top 5. Here it is below. I picked a video with the simple melody (the way I like it) and the lyrics. REALLY read the words. Beautiful (no homo):

After church let out and I did the meet and greet deal with everyone, I walked over to my car when I saw something that caught my eye. It was a guy carrying this sign:

The guy was one of the more throwed individuals that I’ve encountered. He was rocking red-lensed shades, mad cobra logos and, um, knee pads. Yea. He was cool though. I tried to get a picture of him and tape him explaining what it meant, but he was solidly reluctant. I even tried to trick him, but he didn’t go for it. I could try to tell you what his explanation was, but I would not be able to. Let’s just say it was extremely elaborate. I’m not even going to touch it. So, interpret it for yourself. I suspected atheism, but when we parted ways, he told me that I was in the right place (church).

I hopped in the whip and coincidentally, this was the first track to come on on my system:

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