The Episcopal parishes of western Portland get together and share a Eucharist every Thanksgiving, rotating the service between the various participating churches. This year, the service was held at Christ Church in Lake Oswego.
I like to get to church at least 10 minutes before the start, so that I have time to breathe and collect myself and get in the right frame of mind. I was running a little bit behind and didn't really know where I was going, anyway. It was almost 10 o'clock and I was driving down Country Club Road, looking for 10th Street. I passed 9th Street, and on the next block saw a large gray stone gothicky-looking church with immaculate grounds. "Yup, that's it," I thought. I parked on the street and dashed in, with five minutes to spare.
Once I stepped through the doors, however, it was clear that the mass was well underway. In fact, they were lining up for communion. "Yipes, I thought it started at ten," I apologized to the usher. He smiled and said, "No, nine...but you're just in time for communion." So I went straight through the doors and got in line, and after receiving the sacrament retreated to the last pew in the back to kneel for the post-communion prayer.
Now, we always say the same thing after communion: "Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us yadda, yadda, yadda." So I was maybe a little surprised that this prayer was different, but not particularly perturbed. This being Thanksgiving, I figured perhaps for whatever reason they were using some alternate form. That is until I heard, "...and our Holy Father, Pope Benedict...".
Oh, crap. I was at the wrong church.
I managed to flee during the recessional and arrived at Christ Church in time for the collect.
And forgive us for accidentally infiltrating a Catholic mass, as we forgive those Catholics who shot us dirty looks for arriving late and leaving early. Amen.