This summer I’m looking for a church. And I don’t know if I’m looking for a new church or a new liturgy or a new denomination, to be honest. Last year on Good Friday my home church of nine-or-so years held a Tenebrae service. Since that night I've known I wouldn't stay and I had a feeling that the evangelical nondenominational culture probably wasn’t where I was going to end up. It made me terribly sad, that night, and it still makes me sad. I love my church. I was deeply invested there, so many people there invested in me, cared for me, challenged me, gave me opportunities to serve and watched me grow.
I moved away for school and immediately found a church that I love. Every Sunday I meet up with a group of friends and we walk to church together in the green grass of a park, through a neighborhood with a pomegranate tree and an orange tree, up a steep hill and into the cool white and wooden sanctuary of Redeemer church. I love it there. It’s like coming home after a long trip, like diving into cool water when you’ve sweated for hours in the hot sun, like taking a long drink of water when you have waited with thirst. It has made for me a reality the words “come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I learned there for the first time the power and significance of the table of the Eucharist and its celebration. I experienced the relief of silence and private prayer in the setting of worship. I understood the power of scripture as I heard it read on its own week after week, a hundred different voices. For the first time in my life I heard the words of the celebration of Eucharist spoken over me by a woman, and the elements blessed by her voice, and it remains a sweetly poignant moment in my memory. I heard the people singing, in that church, and the elders praying for the people, and the children crying and laughing and murmuring -- the heartbeat of an alive people.
I have discovered that I love pews. That there are hymns with power to move me that worship songs never had. That I love simplicity. That I need to learn to listen, and it is hard for me to do that in a “louder” way of doing church.