Every once in a while there are mysterious aspects to a day like this one, and as someone who likes to have some sort of mystery to ponder over, I found a lot about this day very interesting and very thought provoking. In no particular order, therefore, I would like to comment on some things that puzzled me. No doubt you may read this and think that I might have more important things to think about, and you might also find some insight into what I find interesting or thought-provoking, and hopefully that is worthwhile. It is worth noting at the outset, though, that none of these unsolved mysteries are necessarily profound. None of them are necessarily even my business, and so I would hope no one reading this takes my idle curiosity as anything other than noticing something that seemed odd to me, without any desire to pry into anyone else’s personal life whatsoever. Enough with the introduction, already, let’s move on to some mysteries.
Mystery #1: Where were these people going? One of the striking phenomena of a day like today was people only showing up for part of it. There were about 26 people who showed up for the morning service that did not show up for the afternoon service. I noticed one young lady–someone I would be fairly likely to notice, I must admit–who came to the afternoon service but not the morning service, and made herself particularly inconspicuous, arriving shortly before services and leaving right after it ended. Why? At least with some of the people who came in the morning and not the afternoon service, there were at least sensible reasons like wanting to go home in a reasonable time and seeking to stop and visit another congregation on the way back, as was the case with a family from Eugene that I met today without having known. With other people the reasons were a little less clear. There was at least one person I saw during the pot luck for lunch but didn’t see during either service, although admittedly I was busy enough during both services that I wasn’t at my best in observing people unless they had a reason for me to notice them.
Mystery #2: Why did someone think joining the choir on performance day was a good idea? One of the things that kept me busy during the day was music. During both services I was playing in the hymn ensemble and also involved in the special music singing two songs. There were quite a few interesting occurrences relating to both of those performances. On the one hand, it was hard to rustle up the people involved in singing to practice, something that is a continual problem. At least one person had a serious voice problem due to congestion and wasn’t able to sing. However, one person expressed a desire to sing along with us without having gone to any of the practices or knowing any of the songs, and after an awkward attempt to learn the song during the sound check for our performance, was gently convinced to join the choir after the Feast of Tabernacles when we begin practicing for the next year. Of course, the identity of the person who wanted to join choir probably also made it a little more awkward to be firm regarding performance without having practiced at all.
Mystery #3: Why did someone want to commiserate with me about having a sermonette on Atonement? Now, I have always found it interesting to speak on Holy Days, although it has rarely been an experience of my own, outside of the time when I was in Thailand, when I would regularly give offertory messages on holy days and had to be very creative about making them distinct, such that it gave me (I think) a bit of an advantage over other people when it comes to talking about offerings, simply because I go to other places besides the most familiar ones and try to draw meaning out of passages that many people do not pay any attention to whatsoever. On top of that, Atonement has some wonderful meanings and significance for us when it comes to reconciliation and judgment, and even if I and my audience will be hungry when I speak, I do not need anyone’s sympathy when it comes to speaking on a day like this.
Mystery #4: Why did I get tagged in a photo while I was at services? About noon or so, I received a message on my phone saying that another person who had been in the congregation and does not own a smart phone had tagged me in a photo, and when I got around to it and approved the photo it was added to my timeline. When I brought this up to the person, they wondered (quite sensibly) if their cat had been responsible for it. As it happens, this particular cat, with whom I am very familiar because it had an unfortunate habit of trying to sleep on my legs and mewling constantly for attention and for using a clever technique to toss around field mice while playing with them, has some odd quirks when it comes to computers, and is likely to have accidentally tagged me in a photo while engaged in some sort of feline shenanigans. This sounds like something out of “That Darn Cat,” and made for an amusing and almost cinematic sort of mystery, at any rate.