I am happy that for the majority of worship services the words and songs are projected on the wall. Perhaps it is not ideal, and perhaps it brings my poor spelling to the forefront, but on Holy Day’s such as Ash Wednesday it is a relief to know that by Sunday I will be using the ‘beamer’.
The 3rd of February is the anniversary of the death of Johannes Gutenberg, who is best known for the printing press in Europe, and even though it is no longer the 3rd his memory and works I recall today as I unjam a photocopier. Making leaflets for the Ash Wednesday service later today is the beginning of my Lenten trails. Don’t get me wrong, it is not such a big deal to unblock a jammed photocopier – definitely a first world problem. What it does remind me of, is sitting in a beloved former parish where I printed the service each Sunday and the fun times I had with the photocopier in the office. (At least I can say this now with years separating what was then frustration).
I was convinced that on High Holy days the photocopier was an angry atheist who would spit out crumpled sheets of paper. I remember one Christmas when I had to pre-warm the paper before I put it into the machine. Why?! you ask, well it was because the office was so cold and the machine would get warmed up that once a cold sheet of paper made it through the copier it would crumple, or ‘sweat’ with condensation thereby smudging the print. If I expected a service of 75 people, I would have to aim for making 100 copies as I knew that 25 of them would end up completely illegible. It was like being haunted by Gutenberg through modern technology.
What was, at times frustrating, and now laughable, was that my proudly prepared service outlines would then be folded and stacked at the back of the church ready for those who would be sides people. I imagined crisp leaflets being handed to new comers to our Christmas, or Easter services. On occasion this dream really would become a dream, as I would arrive at the parish church early on the Sunday only to discover that some well meaning person had tidied up and tossed all my leaflets into the recycling, and that being a holiday (holy day) the recycling schedule was changed so that the bin was already emptied.
So now, when I have a sheet, or two that is sacrificed to the photocopier it is not as big an event as what might have been in the past, but I sure do like having everything on ‘the beamer’.