Easter Octave – Day 1
[ now playing? ] Random Jay Chou & David Tao tracks
It’s still Sunday here, but the Easter Triduum is over now. It finished after the appointed time for vespers this evening.
So now, we’re into the eight days of feasting for the Easter Octave and 42 more days after the Octave has finished until we reach the Feast of Pentecost.
This year though, it’s been weird. As a lay Benedictine, Good Friday fell on the same date as the day we commemorate the solemnity of St. Benedict’s transitus, i.e. his passing from this world into the next. Somewhat appropriate given that Good Friday details Christ’s “transitus”, in a sense, between this world and the next as he lay in the tomb only to rise again today, Easter/Resurrection Sunday.
But yesterday, I got back into the spirit of things manual labor wise though. Those chapters of St. Ben’s rule on manual labor came back to hit me with vengeance yesterday. Why?
Uncle Wid & I have been waiting for the right time to pick up some new PA system gear for the church since we extended the English hall last year. Yesterday was the right time because Allans Music had a sale on in the city. We picked up a new system: powered console mixer, power amplifier and four speakers (2 Yamaha & 2 Behringer). And at a very good price too. Here’s where the soreness comes in.
Allans Music in Brisbane’s Queen St Mall is on the first level of the Queen Adelaide Building (QAB). Their “loading dock” is in the laneway behind the QAB. The shortest way to get from the 1st level of QAB to the laneway level is through the fire exit that is next to the entrance to Rebel Sport. That requires one to go down fire stairs for at least three levels (level 1, ground level and laneway level).
When one is carrying a 25-30kg Behringer PA speaker or a 15kg Yamaha speaker down those stairs, one cannot go down the stairs fast. The last thing you want to do is drop what one is carrying: on either a foot or the ground (especially in the case for the powered mixer and the power amplifier). So one has to tread carefully. Meaning that each step needs to be calculated and methodically taken. As a result, I have really sore quads and calf muscles on my legs.
Let’s just say that getting up after sitting on the ground has been rather amusing to my parents today. They get to see me groaning in pain like an old man. St. Ben is prolly having a good old laugh at me now. And calling me a softie too.
Having said that, the new system is a marked improvement on the old one. Speech and vocals during singing come through a lot clearer on the Yamaha speakers (the Behringer’s are still to go up at a later date). And we’ve got at least two-and-a-half times the power coming through the amplifier and speakers as opposed to the old system. Meaning that the sound now actually fills up the hall instead of just half the hall. Just have to fix up what appears to be a grounding/earthing problem or a cable issue to get rid of the intermittent (and annoying) 50 Hz hum that makes itself present.
Easter Sunday service was interesting today. For probably one of the few times in the next few years, the baptismal pool in the English hall finally got some use today. I can see the symbolism in having a full immersion baptism, but given how much we spent just on the baptismal pool itself, I don’t think that it was a “value-for-money” addition to the English hall’s extension. A smaller baptismal font could have sufficed IMHO.
Not to mention the amount of water that was used today. It’s got a capacity of around 2100L, but given that one has to factor in displacement of bodies in the water, you’d reasonably expect to fill up to about 1700L-1800L. Given that Brisbane is still on level 6 water restrictions, I can’t see how filling up a small baptismal pool with that much water was a wise use of a limited resource. That, plus the water at the end of the service had an unearthly green tinge to it. After the service, a few of us called it some one use holy water. From a nuclear waste site.
Having said that, I pity Uncle Wid who was there at the church at 3am this morning to go and turn the tap on so that the water would at least be at a comfortable temperature by the time the 9am service kicked off. We’ve got crappy water pressure and a boiler that is far too small to be able to heat up warm water to fill a small pool with.
Then again, I did wake up at 3am this morning with a vague feeling that something wrong had happened somewhere. Turns out that Uncle Wid around 3am had locked himself out of the church and his car after locking the car first and then accidentally dropping his keys inside his car.
On the bright side, Erin was baptized today. I was first introduced to her back in 2002 by my Dad who met her when she was doing work experience then where he works. We managed to convince her to come along to our church in 2003 and since then, she’s been coming regularly. The on-again/off-again crush/quasi-relationship/”dunno what to call it” on her for a number of years happened during this period (2003 to mid-2006) which tested my faith (at times quite severely).
But I couldn’t have been happier this morning as a fellow brother in Christ, to see her being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit this morning. And she had a couple of her other friends as well there to witness it. Including one of her old school mates from her boarding school days back in Guangzhou: Christina.
Hopefully Christina will be able to come along more often. She’s had the hard sell been put on her with regards to Christianity by another church here in Brisbane and from what I’ve heard from Erin, she’s been turned off by it at times. (I won’t name names, but suffice to say that it’s one of those new-fangled ones that have a Pentecostal/charismatic slant to their worship & theology)
If Christina does come along more, then I’ll have another person that I have to call “jeh-jeh” (older sister in Cantonese) to at church: we’re all born in the same year, the three of us are born within three months of each other and I’m the “youngest” one outta the three of us. And hopefully, she will come to faith in the future too.
This just goes to show that sometimes, a conversion experience does not happen instantaneously unlike what modern evangelicalism tends to emphasize as a result of the revivalist bent in it.
It’s taken about 5 years of witnessing to Erin by my family (and at times, I’ll admit it, less than perfect witnessing by myself to her) and others in the Chinese congregation of EMP church before she made a decision this past summer to get baptized at Easter with her parents’ blessing. My parents and I are glad to see the seed that was planted back in 2002 has begun to bear fruit today. My prayer is that she continues to grow in the faith now and into the future.