We’ve talked about it for several years…really since I met the priest of St John’s Episcopal Church at a neighborhood Christmas party a few years ago and just enjoyed his company immensely. Our neighbor and friend Anne goes to St. John’s and I’ve always loved the way she loves her church.
When Mark and I speak of ‘church’ (and we have these conversations often) we do what most non-church going folk do and bring all of our personal experiences to the table. Our stories sometimes intersect and overlap, but not with positive examples. So when I said I wanted to visit this week, it came after several years of talking about it. Looking at different “flavors” as I call it. What do we like about church, what do we not like.
We both love the tradition and ceremony, but also need a contemporary message that will ring true for our lives in 2017. We don’t like fog machines and praise bands, though that resonates with many, it’s not our personal flavor. Choirs and robes and candles and pews and prayers and messages about love and reminders that we are to love each other and commentary on the place in our society and democracy…all of that. All of that.
Today was really lovely. Made even more special because my husband was right by my side sharing in this new experience. When the call for birthday and anniversaries came several people filed up and knelt at the alter.
“what are they doing,” I whispered.
“it’s their birthday or anniversary,” he whispered back.
“I know but what are they getting?” I asked.
“blessings!” he giggled. and continued to laugh at me while the folks received their blessings.
Look I didn’t know. Maybe you had to give a little extra money for your birthday tithe or something! I also spent a handfull of years in the Assembly of God flavor of church and the first time I was there and people filed to the alter one old lady took a header about two minutes into prayer and the men were lifting carrying her to her chair. So…yeah.
The Eucharist was just beautiful, the ceremony and affirmation of community.
also….real wine. one cup.
no little tiny baby shot glasses full of Welches.
As we kneeled in prayer (on real kneeling pews!) I prayed for this family of mine, for our next year, for this next week…I prayed for our leaders in the state capitol…and for our president-elect. If ever there was a week when my soul needs the extra bubble wrap security that comes with prayer…this is it.
It was a lovely way to start our week.
I look forward to visiting again.