12 November 2008

To meet a King

Here follows the story of a poor humble steward of the realm called Palsted that got a summons to meet the King.

[I like to think he sounds like C3P-O from Star Wars]

"Oh, I don't know what I will do," he said. "I've never met a king and I want to be sure to address Him, approach Him, and greet Him properly."
Not knowing how to prepare he called upon the wisdom of other stewards and merchants that he knew. Surely they'd help him get ready for this privileged meeting.
Some say "address him as if you are his equal and he will honor you. Stand up straight and give him a firm handshake. That way he'll know that you are worthy of the occasion. Be a 'man' because the king is looking for good sturdy men upon whom to grant favor."
Others to the contrary, "you must bow low to gain His inestimable favor. You are dirt and He is priceless gold--be sure you get that straight. You don't want him to have you arrested for audacious presumption in royal company!"
Perplexed, he went to the library and blew the dust off a book entitled, How to behave in the presence of Royalty. Splendid! A book that will tell me just how to pull it off. Page after page he could be heard sighing, "Deary me, those fellas have never read this book," and "Oh my word, I think I shall have to practice several times a day to get all this straight."
And that he did. Everyone he knew suffered through the fate of playing the king whilst poor Paslted practiced his approach. He stumbled quite a bit on the instruction concerning the proper bow to execute whilst kissing the signet ring. One note read, "the proper way to bow is to bend at the 3rd or 4th vertebrae of your back." No matter how hard he tried he could never seem to bend at the right spot. Making the most of his time, Palsted poured himself into the instructions that would surely meet the King's approval.

The Day finally arrived and Paslted was dressed for the occasion [another fable tells of his travails about picking out the correct vestments to don for this meeting]. Among the fanfare and pomp, Palsted began to feel his knees quiver. "Oh, I hope I don't look a fool and forget something really important!" he cringed. "But worse I hope I don't offend His Majesty with the appearance of being ignorant and unprepared." Just then the King's right hand came into Palsted's view. No time to think now, he simply reacted.
[story pans to a dreamy state in which we've all turned up to school or work in our underpants only]
"So sorry about that 6th-7th vertebrae thing. I guess I must have practiced to much. You know, I am nervous, your Grace."
"As you were, lad. It's good to meet you," the King replied.
"Since I have your company, could you direct me properly upon whether I smooched your signet ring correctly. I mean, is it the fourth facet from the left...or the right, clockwise or counter-clockwise?" On and on Palsted stammered over questionable minutiae until the guards had to escort him away from the celebrations.

I'm sure the King felt very flattered indeed when the poor guy stumbled over the procedure. But after a while don't you think His Grace had had enough of this foolish pandering.

This fable is my witty response to those that insist on "no more-no less" than what the BCP allows for in celebrating either Holy Communion or the Daily Offices. It's what comes to mind whenever I encounter what I can only dub rubrical fundamentalism.

Do let us know when you've removed all the fly scat from your pepper shaker.


Richard Naff said...

Oh, my friend. Don't say that too loud! You never know who's listening!

My, but you are reformed, aren't you? Almost as much as me. I've reformed back to the 4th century so far. How about you?

I'm curious. Have you ever visited the New Zealand Liturgy web site? If not, you should give it a read. It speaks marvelously to the point you've just made. The vicar is orthodox and, if you enjoy dry British humor (or is that humour?) and wordplay, you'll find yourself spending far too many hours reading his pages.

If nothing else, you should play his video on the home page, top right, where he pokes fun at various liturgies and refers to the Announcements part of the service as "The Liturgy of the Notices." Apparently in the Roman church, they are now required to chant the announcements in Latin. And Jesus himself endorses the bulletins we print when he says, "Have ye not read?" I don't know how he does it, but he manages to keep a straight face through the whole thing as though he were a college prof giving a lecture.

I hope your honest expression here, with which I fully agree, doesn't harm your career in any way, but one can never tell. This is the sort of thing that is OK to think and believe, but one simply doesn't talk about it. You are a courageous man, Deacon Chris, and blessed.

BTW, that's not a king in your photo. That's Prince Humperdink, the Dastardly, from "The Princess Bride." I think the only think Prince Humperdink would consider appropriate from his guests would be a sack full of gold.

CMWoodall said...

yes, I should read my own advice about posting, eh?

Well [for all reading] I wrote that piece in 20 minutes after a fine cleric got my dander up online.

He is the sort that complain on the one hand that so much Romanism is illegally brought into the Mass by adding elevations genuflections etc. & that so much is missing when evangelicals omit and neglect what is plainly written. "no more--no less."

Had I reflected better I would have pointed out the extremes better. So in the story he turns to his pals to help him. They don't really parallel the Churchmanship extremes that I had in mind. Well, noodle on it before you post, right?!

Loads of Fun.