popsicles and JesusPosted: September 24, 2012
Before our service started at House for All this evening, someone asked me if “she” did this every week, as if our liturgy were a one-woman show that Nadia performs. I explained to her that, yes, we have worship here every Sunday at 5PM. Truth is, it takes a village to pull off this near flash-mob of a gathering every week. We set it all up, then we take it all back down and put it away. Lots of people pitch in to make it work.
This was right on the heels of the question, “what’s with the popsicles?”, which tasted of lemony judgement to me. I talked of hospitality and how it’s hot in the parish hall during the summer and the popsicles are a fun pre-service treat to help people cool off. I felt all angst-y inside.
As we entered our time of Open Space, which is a time of reflection after the sermon, I wandered into the sanctuary, as is my current practice. I walked my usual route, down the north side of the room, across the back to the font, dipping my hand and making the sign of the cross on my forehead before taking a seat in the back row on the far side for a few minutes of solitude. Soon a couple dozen people entered the sanctuary, not necessarily quietly. The space seemed heavy and filled with quiet chatter and restlessness, which I would later relate to someone as the feeling of “someone looting my holy space.” As if it belongs to me.
After communion, I bolted out, jumped in my car, and quickly drove to another church on the other side of town. The church I am a part of is part of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA. Tonight we installed a new bishop. Like chewing gum dissolving in your stomach, this doesn’t happen very often. The retiring bishop had held this office for 18 years.
Somehow, I was able to stay present for all of it. Yes, there was liturgical dance, which I find annoying. And song upon song that I did not know. But there was absolution for my dark heart. There was liturgy. And the creed. And the Eucharist. And a growing realization that this faith thing is bigger than any of us, even when we feel all grumbly inside.
So, yeah, it made me want to keep making room for others at the table. Even if we have to explain our popsicles.