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Sunday the First of July
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Today was my day to act as lay worship leader for our congregation, since our minister is on a well-deserved vacation this month.

I arrived early, all wound up and jittery, not because I was unprepared (I had everything with me) and not because I was frightened of standing up in front of all those people. I think it's because the entire experience energizes me and the energy running through my system needed an outlet.

When I stood up in the pulpit with a lighted candle in my hand, reading the words for the lighting of the chalice, it was as though my whole being was suffused with happiness and light. I always choose words that resonate with my own beliefs, and I think that it comes through to the congregation. I felt like a human beacon of light and love and hope, on fire.

No paper shuffling, no turning of pages to find the hymn in the hymnals. Everyone was silent, their faces turned up to mine, some smiling, some serenely quiet, all attentive. It was inspiring. I felt completely at ease, in the moment, and connected to all my friends and family, sitting throughout the sanctuary.

I, who have not attended church services for over 40 years, seem to have a gift for preaching. People told me they were moved, touched and inspired. And all I did was read some words to light the chalice, words of greeting, say the words of the covenant with everyong, sing the hymns, the structural stuff we do every Sunday. But somehow it was transformed--or I was.

Certainly ironic, given that I'm an agnostic.

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