April 17, 2014

Ode to Copiers (and their Machines)

Most of us move through Holy Week reflecting upon the final days of Jesus, his death, and incredible resurrection. But for the few, prayers also beseech toners to stay full, rollers to track the paper, and jams to stay the stuff of Smuckers.

Church secretaries and volunteers have to prepare and copy about a gazillion extra bulletins this week. In addition, there are Easter lilies to order, Altar Guilds to organize, and priests to manage. For church staffs, Holy Week is tough. Add to that the expectation and desire to be thoughtful and reflective, to travel a spiritual journey through the final days of Jesus. It’s like trying to cram for finals and also write your memoirs. 

Here’s how you can help: gracefully overlook any typos. Call to see if you can help fold the bulletins. Don’t call to add a last-minute announcement. Send flowers or chocolate. Don’t make appointments to complain. Do thank them for their faithful work. And, if you really want to make a difference, pray the copier won’t die. If you’re unsure of what to pray, consider this prayer written by Father Tim Schenck of Lent Madness fame.

Ode to a Copier
A Prayer for Holy Week

Holy Week, dear friends, will soon draw nigh;
From Trinity, Boston to All Saints’, Tenafly.

Parish secretaries and their rectors, too,
Thinking of the bulletins that will ensue,

Drop to their knees and begin to quake,
Praying their copiers will stay awake

Through Maundy Thursday and the rest;
Without behaving as if possessed.

Rectors wonder with uncertainty,
“Should I have purchased the extended warranty?”

Misfeeds, toner woes and a paper jam
Always seem to accompany the Paschal Lamb.

Why this happens is a great unknown,
A mystery worthy of the bishop’s throne.

So stoke the incense, say your prayers;
anything to stave off copier repairs.

As the dark shadows of Tenebrae now approach;
may your copier behave without reproach.

And as we begin the Good Friday fast,
May it wait ‘til Low Sunday to breathe its last.