Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Attraction of the Episcopal Church, 2

Continuing our series by quoting from young Evangelicals who have found their way through the big red doors, Rachel Held Evans:
At first, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church captured me with its novelty. The chants and collects, calls and responses were a refreshing departure from the contemporary evangelical worship I’d come to associate with all my evangelical baggage. I liked confessing and receiving communion each week. I liked reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed together in community. I liked the smells and bells. Each Sunday I’d stuff the sandy-colored bulletin in my purse so I could go home and study the rhythm of this worship, imbibing the poetry of those holy words.

We didn’t know many people then. I kept my eyes on the floor as I walked away from the Table on Sundays, afraid of exchanging too many warm smiles, afraid of becoming too familiar to these kind, religious people who, like all kind, religious people will inevitably disappoint and be disappointed. ....

But we’ve been showing up for nearly six months now, and so it is a different sort of beauty I encounter on Sunday mornings these days—the beauty of familiarity, of sweet routine.

I know the order of service now. I know it well enough to have favorite parts, to skim ahead when I’m hungry or restless, to get the songs stuck in my head. And we know the people too.... 
It is a season of new songs.

It is a season of receiving, of being loved just for showing up.

I am holding all these gifts gingerly, like fragile blue eggs I’m afraid to break. I am holding them the way I hold that white wafer in my cupped, open hands—grateful, relieved, and still just a little bit frightened of what will happen when I take it and eat.


8thday said...

When I was looking for a church I attended an Episcopal service. I was greeted warmly and made to feel very welcome. After the service people introduced themselves to me and I was given a floral arrangement from the alter as a gift for visiting. Although the high style of service was not a good fit for me I will always remember it as a positive experience.

IT said...

That's very nice! I agree that high liturgy is not to everyone's taste, but it's good to have good feeling after attending a service.