I don’t know that I’ve ever had a case of OCE like the one I’m experiencing this year. I suspect it has been like this every year of my adult life although I always seem to forget from one year to the next. Every time Holy Week rolls around, my brain turns into a 1 G computer that is trying to process 4 G of data.
Since I don’t have a cloud where I can store all this excess information, I leave notecards and post-its and lists all over my desk. There are extra prayers for the assisting minister. And copies of a diagram for the processional, as well as a flow chart for the distribution stations for Holy Communion. I have a list of things I need to go over with the acolytes and a set of instructions for the altar committee. I also have guidelines for the ushers to read: when to turn the lights on, how to seat the overflow crowd, how to bring people up for communion. And then there are the instructions I have left for myself. As I wade my way through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, I have a pile of lists for each one. And now I’m suddenly realizing that I may forget some of my lists, so I need to compile a list of lists.
The bulletin for Sunday has been giving me fits. We forgot to order a fancy cover this year, so at the last minute, at the secretary's encouragement, I decided to design one. Then we didn’t have any colored paper and it looked terrible on the white. So I called all over town trying to find 8 ½ by 14 color copy paper. I finally ordered some online from Staples and it was delivered at the last minute. After proofing the content of the bulletin a bazillion times and having a few others do it as well, I looked at it one last time before we printed it, found at least 10 errors, and felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown.
Yesterday I sent an email to all the worship ministers for Sunday in which I told them about the order of the procession, when to move and at what pace, how much space to leave between people, and what to wear. Specifically, I asked them to wear nice shoes and I let the men know that they need to wear long pants under their robes. Yes, I am obsessing over what people wear under their robes. So, I got a series of emails back from folks who told me what they would be wearing, all of it beyond inappropriate. They thought they were being funny. The thing is, when I’m suffering from an episode of OCE, I don’t have the space in my brain to accommodate humor. Any extra brain matter that remains free I need to save for my sermon.
My sermon!? All these people and details and lists to keep track of, and I’m supposed to have something to say, too?