Finally! As I put my key in the lock of the red door this morning I had that sense of coming home after being too long gone. It's been six weeks since I had preached or celebrated--the longest interval since ordination. As always, I was in early to have that time of peace and quiet. Time to fold and stuff, organize and fuss and this morning, time to just sit. I needed that time. It was a full weekend, full of fun social things that brought me God's grace in many ways. But sometimes there is need of this direct time, unmitigated by anything else. Just God, me and the silence.
I knew it would not be for long. The organist and the choir would come, and with them the teenage granddaughter playing the flute today and the toddler grandsons for the Sunday school. And soon the altar guild person, the acolyte, the lector...each with a greeting, a comment, a question. But for this little time, silence was.
By the time the processional started I was not touching ground. Practicing the anthem, running the hymns, greeting folks, seeing people come....old and new, I could feel the joy in me growing. As the service began and I looked out at the congregation assembled there, I realized anew I much I do love these people whose lives God has joined with mine. They are such a varied mix, young and old, long time members, Episcopalians since birth, mixed with folks who are visiting with us for the second or third time and for whom church is a new and actually kind of dicey prospect. L is there every Sunday now and this of course is a great joy to me. He often brings along a friend or two. Our kid population is growing too, we had six for the once a month Sunday school today!
The singing, the praying, the preaching, the chance to offer the bread of heaven to these hungry souls....each precious moment felt very new and special again. God's presence was so tangible it almost overwhelmed me at times. More than once the tears almost came. Perhaps it is good to take breaks to appreciate things anew. Clearly it is good to be back where I belong.
Note: A version of my sermon from today can be found at the The Feminist Theology Blog