WHY I WORSHIP (Part 3) “Is God Tired and Old?”

WHY I WORSHIP (PART 3) – “God Is Tired and Old?”

Sunday number 3 came quickly this month…no Lutheran Church in Gambier, Ohio and I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to drive down the road very far so attending worship at the Church of the Holy Spirit on the Kenyon College campus seemed like the right thing to do.  Plus, that is where Katy and Ben will be married next June and it gave me a bit of a heads up on use of the facility.  Wow!  What a place.  So here’s what happened…

  •  Harcourt Parish is the local Episcopal Church that uses the Kenyon College facility.  The European Gothic cathedral was begun being built in 1854 and completed in 1871.  Read that again…’completed in 1871.’  People in Texas were just figuring things out and most Lutherans were still on their way and then I think…New Life..1961..1969…2005…man… ‘completed in 1871.’
  • We got to worship a few minutes late going in the main entrance which entering we found out is NOT the main entrance…I heard singing and thought, “O we missed the announcements and confession…hooray and booh…”and then the singing died down…and everyone ( all 50 of them) looked at us…well Katy first, then Ben, then Margo and I was able to stay low behind them… but we just didn’t come in under the radar…kind of like a never-before-seen visitor to New Life entering the worship space by the door by the organ right in the middle of the opening hymn with everyone standing up and looking forward…sheeesh…
  • Then I saw the huge organ loft with a multitude of pipes and ranks and then figured  out the singing was a capella  with no piano or other instrument in sight…and it seemed like hard work for most of those at worship…we got to the last verse and then we all sat down…those near us forwarded their bulletins to us to follow the rest of the user-friendly service…and that felt good…
  • The priest (the Episcopal pastor) is a woman named Helen.  After worship we discovered that we know some of the same people (big surprise, huh?) after she said, “Gee you look familiar” as I almost said ..”Hi, I’m Mike, Mike Ditka” but knew that would get an eyebrow raise from Margo and Katy both…so I gave the official greeting and she and others were happy to meet Ben and Katy… who would be ‘locals.’ 
  • Helen was dressed very casually…khaki slacks…clerical collar in a sleeveless black shirt (kind of looked like a biker vest from my seat…) with a green stoll yoked over her shoulders…members of the church read the lessons, shared some announcements (we didn’t miss them!) and we entered a time of ‘confession’ just before Eucharist…her message was short and engaging and Katy and Ben both remarked how her words reflected a good word about Jesus’ message of sons hating mothers and fathers, etc…and what it means to walk away from the people who lead you to dangerous places in life…
  • Again…going to the Lord’s Table with Margo next to me was affirming…but getting there was a sprint…
  • The sanctuary space was old (1871!) with lots of stained glass and little light and no windows to open…and very very warm…so Helen ran through the liturgy like she was running from a fire which was a whole bunch disconcerting to me…but I knew where she was…as I could see in her eyes and what she was thinking…”there are old women and children here…and some middle-aged folks and if we don’t get through this…someone is going to keel over…” so I give her a pass on that…as it was very uncomfortable and distant from my normal AC driven worship experience…
  • We only sang two songs…the one as we walked in and one during the offering and the people there struggled with the singing.  Pastor took note…more singing…more singable songs… sing standing vs. sitting… and there were parts of the morning that made me feel…God must be old and tired… as there was not a lot of spiritual energy present and some (including the priest) at times just going through the motions…not taking into consideration that some were there for the first time looking for a sense of God, a moment of holy otherness and for some peace that passes all human understanding…and the racing through the liturgy was NOT peace-full…but, that’s just me…
  • But, all is not lost as the most notable part of the morning was after the worship service as we were all invited to the lawn along “middle path” (the main walkway through Kenyon’s campus) for conversation and refreshments where those gathered there were very welcoming and sincere about getting to know who we are and why we were there…no one seemed to be in a hurry to get to the next place in the day and demonstrated a genuine care for one another…and that was refreshing and reminded me that God is neither tired or old as he had been showing up there for over a century and half…the one who makes all things new…and brings refreshment to the tiring soul…

On our way back to the house…we ate lunch at Friendly’s Ice Cream Parlor…for some good Sunday family conversation…Santa Fe Chicken salad washed down with Peanut Butter Chunk Dark Chocolate ice cream….mmmmm!

I hope you are making good use of God’s holy space each Sunday…and welcome a comment from you…

    Brian

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About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 2. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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One Response to WHY I WORSHIP (Part 3) “Is God Tired and Old?”

  1. Alicia Fuhrman says:

    I, too, have visited churches that just seemed “tired” and wondered where/how God is at work among His people there. It’s good to see that you felt the spirit when you walked out into the sunlight and fresh air!

    Oh yes, and a capella singing is always difficult, even in a Church of Christ congregation (where my formative education took place).

    Enjoying the blog — I look forward to the next post!

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