I apologize to those of you who were reading this blog for my lapse in writing without any explanation. It was not a deliberate decision on my part. It began with a debilitating bout of the flu followed by a brief period of depression. While feeling depressed, my sense of humor failed me and I really couldn’t think of anything positive to say about growing older. I really don’t want to write a negative, angry blog bemoaning the aging process so I simply refrained from writing. After recovering from the flu and depression I began to question what I really wanted to write about. With the encouragement of friends and my spiritual director I am going to shift the focus to my spiritual journey which, of course, includes the experience of growing older! Thanks to all of you who have continued to encourage me to write, especially my friend who has been encouraging me for nearly thirty years.
Here is the first entry of my new focus.
TWO WAFERS IN A BAGGIE
Early in the day my boss, a priest in the Episcopal Church, and I had been discussing the 1928 Prayer Book, the language of which does not resonate with her at all. I, being a few years older and having worshiped for longer from the old edition, confessed that I do enjoy Rite I on occasion and that the prayer of confession in which “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed…The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable.” does sometimes eloquently express my innermost feelings.
Later that day, my boss was leaving the office to make a pastoral visit to a hospitalized member of the parish and was dismayed to discover she had left her communion kit at home. She rushed back into the office and a few minutes later emerged again to leave for the hospital. With her usual aplomb and common sense she had put two wafers in a baggie (this particular parishioner never took the wine anyway) and went on her way. A far cry from the solemnity of Elizabethan England! I laughed and continued to think about the disparity between the archaic formality of the old prayer book and the accommodations sometimes necessary to provide communion to those in need.
I love the beauty of the language in much the same way that I love the language of Shakespeare. I also love the grandeur of an Episcopal Eucharist celebrated in a cathedral. The beauty of the setting and the liturgy stirs my soul and the soaring hymns lift my spirit. My heart responds to the pomp and circumstance. However, In spite of my appreciation of archaic language and the formality and solemnity of a high mass, I do not want to return to it. For a steady experience I want to worship a God who is approachable in the 21st century world and feel assured that I am loved, miserable offender though I may be.
In a formal setting I feel a sense of separation. God is my sovereign and therefore less accessible. I want to experience God as my closest friend who loves me without reservation, unreasonably and immeasurably, and will come to me in a baggie if all else fails!