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May 27, 2011

The Mass and the End of my Friday

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

After my cancer treatment this morning, the doctors removed the port in my left arm and gave me a bit of good news: I get next week off.

While its kind of terrific that I do not have to run into the city next week for chemo and radiation treatment, the best part of the day was getting the port out. Ah!! No more accidentally pulling it or hurting myself when I drop my forearm on my chair's arm rest. Tonight, my arm is wrapped, but as of tomorrow, I can either use a Band-Aid to cover it or let the air at it. 

The next time I go in for treatment, the doctors are going to find another, more relaxed spot to put the tube.

After it was removed, the doctor showed me what it looked like – a nasty looking, long plastic tube, and I must admit, I am glad that it is out. 

Now I await the bruising around the small incision. Hopefully, the bruising will not be too ugly.

The rest of my Friday has been relatively quiet. Nothing major happened. I responded to a number of telephone calls. I whined to the AT&T people about my stupid iPhone, again. I wasn't at all hungry, but I picked on the vat of potato salad Stephanie made for her family's Memorial Day party (it was good). And finally, I came into the church to get some kind of work done. I answered emails, made more return phone calls, and cleaned off my office desk. Now to go home and cook dinner. There is a Game 7 Stanely Cup Eastern Finals game on Versus tonight at 8pm between Tampa and Boston (I am pulling for Tampa). And then the first place New York Yankees – and if you haven't heard, they are the "Underdog" New York Yankees this season – are out west against Seattle beginning at 10pm. Maybe tonight will be dedicated to sports, for a little while (Unless Zack Parise of the NJ Devils is playing, then Stephanie is not a fan of hockey; and since she is a Mets fan, watching the Yankees – even at the parsonage where she doesn't live – is a no-go). This is, of course, my initial plan that can and most likely will change (we could go see "Hangover 2"). 

Tomorrow is going to be a busy one – I have to finalize this weekend's electronic bulletins, finalize my weekly article in our "Saint Matthew's Matters' parish notes insert, finalize my sermon and the prayers, and finally, memorize that sermon before our 5pm service.

I was asked today why don't we Lutherans call our Divine Services "the mass?" I gave the nurse my quick answer — "because we don't." In the end, it all comes down to the comfort level of the church and the congregants. Using the word "mass" raises the little hairs on the backs of the necks of Lutherans when that four letter word is uttered, so in most Lutheran churches we refrain from using 'that word.' It is not that what we do when the Lord's Supper is offered is not a mass in the historical Christian sense, but Lutherans see the "mass" as a Catholic-thing" and a "service" as our thing.

So I told my nurse if she ever crossed the Hudson River and came to my church, she is allowed to call it a mass. And if anyone else wants to use that word, please feel free.


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