Sunday, October 18, 2009

lydia, oh lydia, oh, have you seen lydia?

so, i'm realizing a whole lotta things all at once which is pretty flippy trippy.
1. it's looking like i am not going to be a nun in the traditional sense.
2. this should not surprise me as i am not an altogether traditional person.
3. it did surprise me at first, but i am getting my head wrapped around it.
4. when i was in swaziland, staying with sr. carole at ohp's orphanage, she told me that convents around the world are getting smaller with fewer and fewer women entering them but that it's ok. god has god's seasons and maybe the holy spirit has something else in mind for the church now. something new. she reminded me that when the anglican church started seeing a grass roots building up of religious orders in the mid-19th century, the holy spirit was guiding that. now, governments do the work that nun used to do. ngo's do that work.
5. once i got back from swaziland i was faced with something i had been putting to the back of my mind b/c i was so focused on getting to africa. something that had been bothering me a lot lately and this is it: i stopped going to church b/c i was burned out on over-extending myself there. i missed the eucharist though. this summer i went to mid-day eucharist services at big churches and the cathedral. i have been in the episcopal church my whole life. i went to catholic school as well which is similar in liturgy. all of a sudden, the mass was starting to look silly to me. a man or woman wearing a ridiculous poncho thingy whose origins were ancient and useless today, waving his or her hands over the magic goblet and cookies. the whole eucharist was starting to look like harry potter to me. i definitely wasn't feeling the presence of christ. i wasn't seeing the connection between this and christ's message of love, integrity, hope. instead, i was getting caught up in the show and flash.
-allow me to interrupt myself to say this is strictly a personal experience. i am not saying that the eucharist is silly or the traditions of the episcopal or catholic church. it's just not working for me anymore.
6. i've started going to an emerging church in alphabet city. it's called st. lydia's and the service is - we cook a large dinner. we meet in the narthex (st. lydia's rents space from a lutheran church) and sing plain chant. we go to the sanctuary where dinner tables are set up. an ordained person blesses the bread (a delicious baguette) and we all pass it around. we eat dinner together. once we are done eating, we read a bible passage aloud. the person in charge for the day gives a mini-sermon on the passage. we share our understanding of the passage. we hold up our wine glasses at the end of the meal and the wine is blessed. and that's communion. it's an agape meal, like the one the early church people used to have. it's intimate, personal, community. it's lovely. sometimes it's messy and scruffy, just like christ and his followers. i'm really enjoying it.