It's not the first time in my life that I've thought that God might have a sense of humor...and that it might be just a tad on the dry side. It had been kind of a hard Holy Week....I struggled with the services....it felt like there were so many words, so much ritual, and I had such a hard time feeling a connection with it. It felt a little, well, stale....like old things done too often that had perhaps lost their meaning, at least for me this year.
Easter morning found R and I on the road motoring across the state. We had decided that since this was the first holiday since his dad's death, we really wanted to be with his family. So I excused myself from my place this morning and did a little research to find the Episcopal church closest to his sister's that would work out time wise to allow us to have worship and arrive for dinner with the family. Early this morning we headed out and as we were driving along and chatting about this and that, I was sharing some of my Holy week discontent with R and saying...."Gee I wonder what it would be like if there was an Episcopal church that used some of the praise and worship style music and liturgy that you usually find in more Evangelical churches, rather than the very traditional worship that we are used to?"
Well now I know. It turns out that the church we ended up in for Easter service had exactly that! There was a drummer, a guy on an electric guitar and the music was definitely not done in the traditional style. Some of the other aspects of the worship service were also done differently than I am used to. I found myself taken a bit aback by it all. I guess I am a little more traditional than I'd like to think. Or perhaps I can't be pleased no matter what. But it definitely felt a little like "be careful what you ask for."
The sermon was a definite bright spot however. "Where is Jesus, anyway?" was the question of the day. I think it's the question I wrestled with mightily through Holy Week....what do all the words and ritual have to do with Jesus? I don't know that I have an answer. The priest's answer to the congregation today was clear. Here. Here in this place. Here where you have those that love and care about and do for and serve one another just as Mary and John and Peter did. They did it, she said, even when they really didn't get it. So maybe it's ok if I muddle along ,too, not really sure about why I'm a little fuzzy on some of the fine points right now.
Big picture....Jesus is here too....in the love of my new family who seem to be taking me in....just as I am. In the gift of my sweet R, soon to be vowed forever mine in front of God and everyone! In the grace of simple things, in saying goodbye to our congregant P whom we laid to rest on Holy Saturday, in navigating well the changes that are coming in our team as we change and shift in our roles, remembering that just because we can does not mean we should and that working harder is not always what God really wants of us.
Three years ago today, I baptized a lovely little baby girl. One of her sponsors was a handsome man named R. There was something about that man that caught me....I never forgot him, and in forty two days.....I will be marrying him. Again I say, sometimes I really do think God has a sense of humor.