sent in by Naomi
jasminedancer at optonline dot net
I've seen a lot of references to the collection plate and I'd like to contribute my own crazy observation.
More than a few years ago, being a born atheist and under extreme emotional stress, I decided to go to church. In my own way of thinking, it was very consoling (I could listen to the sermons as parables, not as truth) and I got to shake hands with strangers and feel the warmth of community which I was sorely lacking. This was the most well-known, politically-connected church in Manhattan and the interior was gorgeous, well-lit, clean, inspiring in its own fantastical way. People were very well-dressed (it was Christmas) and there were wreaths and everything. I cried my eyes out, it really got to me and I needed it.
Then: The collection.
(I went back several times, so this is a recollection of that repeated moment. The first time I may not have registered this.)
The ushers all passed their plates up and down and eventually made it to the back of the big hall.
The guy opened up his loudest stops, AND THOSE PIPES WERE BLASTING! It sounded like the king, the queen and God were all sitting up there in the front and applauding and glittering and glaring and the whole military and the President of the United States and Jesus and Bach were up there with all the angels and looking down at us! Chords of organ music filled the air like all the jewels that could fill the place, as the ushers marched with obvious pride like harried peacocks, in order, down the aisle, and piled up all the plates into the waiting hands of other volunteers on the stage. Wow!
You know, more than the obvious ego of the pastor, more than the ludicrousness of the stories, it was that loud bashing celebration of money taking that curdled in my gut.
Praise the lord and pass the plate!