"Our psyches go up and down. We have our seasons and days of joyfulness. Sometimes we feel like singing and dancing. Sometimes there is spring in our step. But we have other seasons, too — cold seasons, bland seasons, seasons of tiredness, pain, illness, and boredom. If prayer is lifting heart and mind to God, then clearly during those times we should be lifting something other than song and dance.

"The celebrant's role is to help gather everything together and direct it upward, like incense smoke to God. Thus, the best celebrant is not necessarily the one who conducts the most enthusiastic celebration, nor even the one who delivers the best homily. Sometimes the celebrant's very efforts to do this can do violence to the persons who are attending.

"The best celebrant is the person who can act as a radar screen, lifting up not just the bread and wine, but all that the people bring, including their tiredness, their hangovers, their woundedness, their emotional and sexual preoccupations, and their boredom. The celebrant gathers it all together and offers it as it is, not as he would like it to be.

"There is a story told about a Jewish farmer who did not get home before sunset one Sabbath and was forced to spend the night in the field, waiting for sunrise the next day before being able to return home. Upon his return home he was met by a rather perturbed rabbi who chided him for his carelessness. 'What did you do out there all night in the field?' the rabbi asked him. 'Did you at least pray?' The farmer answered: 'Rabbi, I am not a clever man. I don't know how to pray properly. What I did was to simply recite the alphabet all night and let God form the words for himself.'

"When we come to celebrate, we bring the alphabet of our lives. If our hearts and minds are full of warmth, love, enthusiasm, song and dance, then these are the letters we bring. If they are full of tiredness, despair, blandness, pain, and boredom, then those are our letters. Bring them. Spend them. Celebrate them. Offer them. It is God's task to make the words!"