Sunday at Church

Today was not a work day for me, and I went to church with my family at our home parish.  It is always a treat to do this, first of all because it means I didn't spend the last two days writing a sermon and I didn't have to get up at 6 a.m.  But mostly because I become aware all over again what a rich soil my faith was nurtured in.  Not only is it a beautiful place physically, but the music is always wonderful, and it is always busy and full of life, and I know that the liturgy is planned and done with care - and the programs and ministries are as well.  And it is always a joy to see people I've known for a long time there.  Plus my teenage son loves to be there and we got to sing plainchant together today (he got the hang of it pretty quickly).  Even though I love being behind the altar on Sundays, it was nourishing to be in the pew today.

It was a dreary and cold day today, so it was darker than normal Sunday morning in the nave.  During the Gospel procession (which is complete with crucifer/cross and torchbearers/torches) the candle flames were flickering brightly and their light glinted off the cross and the beautiful golden Bible cover and the teenage acolytes' faces as the procession came down the aisle and stopped for a few minutes and then went back up to the altar again.

I saw a couple of young children standing in their pews, watching intently, perhaps thinking that someday they will be the ones to carry those bright flames down the aisle in that beautiful place.  Everyone, both the acolytes and the kids watching them, stood so still, and there was an alertness in the eyes of those who turned to face the Gospel.  Perhaps it was the way the light played on the scene.  It made me think about how much ritual and a certain amount of solemnity and reverence feeds the soul of folks of every age.

I'll bet those images stay with the watching children, even if it backs into the recesses of their memories, and some day they will see another procession and remember this day and how the light looked as it traveled down and back up the aisle, warm and bright and moving mysteriously, journeying deliberately into the distance.


Rich said…
Nice writing, Penny. I felt as if I were there and could smell the beeswax candles!

Our Advents Lessons and Carols service at Church of Our Saviour was one of the best ever, at least as far as the choir is concerned. We've picked up some new members and now have a little more quantity to go with all that quality music that Daniel picks.

We started the service with a beautiful Matins Responsory (Palestrina), followed by a new Daniel Pyle arrangement of "Adam Lay Y Bounden", then four more offerings, including the "Record of John". Although the service was sparcely attended, those who were there received a real blessing from God's Holy Spirit in the service of scripture and song.
I'm sorry I missed it! I'm looking forward to being with you all on Christmas Eve.