Yesterday morning we went to church, but not our own. Our sons participate in Boy Scouts, and yesterday was Scout Sunday, when it is customary for Scout troops to express appreciation to the churches that host their meetings and support the program. So we found ourselves in a pew of an Episcopalian church, with fair linen and kneelers and and a flame that never goes out, suspended over the altar.
I was raised Lutheran, to the extent I was raised anything, and the rite of Holy Communion with which I grew up shares many passages and responses with the Book of Common Prayer. And so I found myself rising and singing and speaking from some place beneath memory.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and every-
where to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth.
Peace be with you.
And also with you.
For many good reasons, we are where we are spiritually, and it is home. It gives us a glimpse of God’s kingdom, God’s extravagant and boundless love in all its colors, shapes and sizes, that is hard to find in upstate South Carolina at eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning. We see grace, over and over, in a context that does not let us fool ourselves for a moment that we have it all together.
But in my return to those old old words and rites yesterday morning, part of my heart was returned to me. Only the barest whispers of these confessions and celebrations are part of our worship at Triune. Yesterday morning I was reminded, viscerally, that beauty and history in worship makes way for mystery. We are inviting a movement not of the intellect, or of the will, but of the soul itself. In the movement of psalm and confession, thanksgiving and feasting, I was refreshed, restored, returned.
Welcoming spring with fresh inspiration: