Regular Maintenance

The last time we used incense during the service was on All Saints' Sunday. This is one of the “big” celebrations of the Church, and it is one of five days marked as especially appropriate for baptisms (First Sunday after the Epiphany, Easter Vigil, Pentecost, All Saints' Day/Sunday, and at a bishop's visitation).

During the service, our thurifer, Julia Sunnarborg, was having some difficulty with the thurible. She said it was sticking and she was having some trouble raising the cover. And then, just before the final procession, the chain came unhooked. So there we were, trying to open a hot thurible to add incense without a) burning ourselves, or b) burning down the church. Thankfully it all worked out.

In preparation for Christmas Eve, I spent some time yesterday cleaning the thurible. The insides had developed a coating of incense tar that had become sticky, making it difficult to raise the top. The chains for the thurible itself had gotten twisted, and the chain for the top needed to be better secured.

So I took a wire brush and steel wool and gave it a good scrubbing. I didn't get all the tar off, but I did get enough off so the top doesn't stick. I untangled the three main chains, and I (hopefully) secured the lift chain so that it won't come off.

It's not perfect, but I think it'll work. And if I keep up on the cleanings and checking the chains, it should be in good shape for quite awhile.

In the Advent season we spend our time preparing. We prepare for the coming of Christ for the first time in a manger in Bethlehem. We prepare for the coming of Christ for the second time in power and glory at a time to yet be determined. We prepare for the first with any number of activities, events, and gift giving. We prepare for the second through self-examination, prayer, and repentance.

If we aren't careful, though, we might find ourselves like my thurible – burnt, sticky, and coming apart in places.

As we draw nearer to Christmas, take some time to untangle yourself if necessary. Take some time to see where you might be overworked and overdone. Take some time to get reattached to places you find important. Take some time for self-care so that you don't accidentally burn yourself or those around you.



« Back