Yesterday I went to Mass at a Church I normally don’t go to. It has been over twenty-four hours and I am almost cooled down over what I experienced. Normally my predilection is that if I walk into a Church and there our bongo drums in the sanctuary is to run for my life (Fright or Flight reaction). I calmed down and told myself that regardless of any externals, that Christ is brought to us in the Eucharist and that I should not work myself up over inconsequentials. I tried to pray before Mass started but the noise of the congregation as they casually talked was only slightly less than the noise I experienced when I use to work in a shop underneath the flight deck during flight Ops. The parish is very upscale as was evidenced by the many luxury cars in the parking lot. The Church is also quite large and it looked like they spared no expense, except when it came to having an organ, crucifix, or just one statue of Our Lady.
The Mass started with them raising the house lights to stun. I knew I should have brought sunglasses with me when I saw the massive light board at the entrance to the Church that was suitable for Metallica to take on tour. Now if only Kirk and Spock had this light board with them in Operation: Annihilate they would have made short work of those parasitic creatures on Deneva.
The entrance song and most of the hymns played were from Dan Schutte repertoire and I have built up some immunity to his songs. They did not have a choir but had a singer with his guitar and another playing the piano. The arpeggios and other riffs were executed nicely and he had a good voice. Outside of Mass it would have been fine if you like that variety of Contemporary Christian music. But there is just something wrong with even nicely performed hammer-ons during Mass. I thing I know why it it called Contemporary music – I have nothing but contempt for it.
Previously I have never heard the Gloria massacred. Sadly I can no longer make that claim. The Gloria was played with a highly syncopated beat and this is where my jaw dropped down to the nether regions. I have experienced hand-clapping to the beat previously with Shine, Jesus, Shine as an exit hymn. But this was a whole new adventure with Gloria clap-clap, Gloria clap-clap, In Excelsis Deo clap-clap. WIth every verse the hand-clapping grew louder. Instead of a crucifix above the altar they had what appeared to be a prancing Jesus. This blond blue-eyed version of Jesus I believe was born in Stockholm and not Bethlehem. By the happy-go-lucky pose and the arms raised at waist level I expected that this might be a Disney’s animatronics Jesus and and it would also start clapping to the beat. I really don’t think I would have been surprised if that would have indeed happened.
The Gospel for the 19th Sunday isn’t very long and yet the Missal had a short form where both the first and last paragraph could be skipped. Possibly being beaten severely for not being prepared when the master arrived is not liturgically correct according to the modern liturgist. Then there were the typical liturgical abuses such as pouring the Blood of Christ into the vessels after the consecration and the EEMs gathering around the altar prior to the Fraction Rite. I have seen all of this before and it normally doesn’t phase me. I guess it was the combination of people talking throughout the Mass, the extremely casual clothing worn, and the musical performance that bothered me. But mainly what annoys me is that I am still unable to ignore it all and consecrate on the greatest prayer on earth – the Mass.