Monday, April 6, 2015

#95: Church-y places

Happy Easter!  It's kind a big day for those of us who love Jesus.  For me it is a reminder of how far I've come.  In hindsight it is so much easier to see that I have been taken care of all along.  (if you're a big fan of pomp & hymns, check out this video from King's Cross in Cambridge.  All Anglicans, as far as I can tell, sing this as the opening hymn on Easter Sunday & it's AMAZING live!).

I discovered that there is a power out there that could make life not-suck (that was my goal for a long time, as this would have been an improvement) at a Christian summer camp called Sky Ranch.  It still exists today, but I'm pretty sure it's a corporate gig now, not quite the same.  Although I didn't fit in with the other campers very well, the counselors had pity on me and I hung out with them.  I wrote them after camp was over; I came back the next year and saw them again; I'm even Facebook friends with a one of them now!

When I was old enough, I worked there, which was AWESOME!  I am still friends, thanks to FB, with lots of these folks, and they helped me find hope in what I thought was a pretty miserable existence.

Then in high school I joined started going to the downtown Episcopal Church in Austin,  St. David's, because a friend of mine invited me to go (thanks, Melissa!).  I loved it immediately, if only because the kids there did NOT go to my school, so I didn't feel like an outcast there.  Really I loved it because I got hugs before I went home that first night.

I got involved with a movement called Happening, a diocesan-wide youth retreat that is put on and run mostly by youth.  I was absolutely hooked.  This is where I found a community and friends and felt belonging.  I guess I found my religion, too, there.

Ever since then, whenever I move to a new city, I go to the Episcopal Church nearest my house (I believe in inhabiting my neighborhood).  In St. George, UT, it was Grace Episcopal;  in Bozeman, MT, it was St. James; and here in Boise it's St. Michael's.  When I visit Dallas, I try to get my cousin to take me to his church, Incarnation.

The Episcopal Church has been woven throughout my life.  I once wanted to be a youth director.  I took classes at Trinity Seminary when it was still affiliated with the Episcopal Church.  I was married in the Episcopal Church.  I worked for the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho.  I got to help put on a consecration of our new bishop in the Episcopal Church in Idaho.

Today I got to worship in my Episcopal Church.  I sat in my section, with my people, and when I sat down (15 minutes early, by the way) they all waved and said hello.  A few made appropriate snide remarks about my promptness.  This is what I love. 

It's not so much Jesus (though He's great) that I go to church for, or the music (which is spectacular) or the pomp and circumstance (this is THE place to be for all that, by the way);  I go for this community.  I like feeling like I belong.  I like the feeling that I am contributing to something bigger than me.  I like listening to people talk about God. 

Even though I don't go every week, often daydream during the prayers, am usually late and I almost always make noise when I come in, people still welcome me.  For the first 5 years I lived in Boise I cried through every Sunday service.  They still loved me.  A couple of years ago I started crying again, and they kept loving me.  Now that the crying is stopped, they still love me.  This is why I go.

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