Sunday, December 05, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Service

For several years now, we've driven about 45 minutes to another community to attend the Thanksgiving Eve Service at an Episcopal church. Traditionally, I've not been a fan of adding yet another church service to life, but for many reasons, this has become quite a meaningful evening for me. I attend a local community church of over 2500 with five weekend services, so this is quite an alternate event. Why do I seek out this somewhat inconvenient Episcopal experience once a year? Upon reflection, here's what happens for me. This experience...

...quiets me to be in a beautiful church a cathedral.
...enriches me to listen to high church choir music that may or may not appeal to me, but is worshipful and interesting all the same.
...engages me to watch the procession down the center aisle at the beginning of the service, announcing something special is taking place to honor the Lord and King.
...stretches me to worship in unity with a diversity individuals and families, various generations and orientations, reminding me that “God so loved the world.”
...comforts me to participate in the liturgy and perhaps communion, even though I am an outsider to this group. The printed worship program guides me to simply read and follow along, to be gently included.
...invites me to feel awkward in the standing and sitting and greeting and all the Episcopal things so traditional to many, so awkward to me — yet a good experience to remind me of worship that may or may not look like the way I do things, and that is OK. Plus, I am more sensitive to visitors to my church.
...permits me to honor others as I think about the message — or homily, I think it is called. It may or may not be lined up with the way I think, yet it still intentionally invites humanity to reach back to God in some fashion, and that is lovely.
...connects me to the world of believers and expands my understanding of THE church.

1 comment:

Mrs. Coral Kenagy said...

I love so the way you view the world and are constantly pushing yourself to grow beyond the "norm". My heart desires that more people would willingly take themselves out of their own comfort zones and try some one elses on for size... if even just for a day. I think eyes and hearts would be opened, if not just slightly cracked to where a ray of the unfamiliar might creep in to be observed.
Wishful thinking, I know.
I love you dearly my friend.