I loved the prayers of the Episcopal church, when I finally listened. My family started in the Presbyterian church, my mom’s church, until the minister left and one replaced him that my dad did not like. So we went to “his” church.
I sang in the choir there, fortunately had a director who was very good at teaching her choir members to read music although I could never look at a note on the scale and know what it should sound like. I always sang soprano. Melody is easier to sing than harmony.
So as I grew up things changed as they are inclined to do, and the church began to fray from its biblical strength. Those beautiful prayers were rewritten so as not to offend or call to responsibility those things we have done, or ought not to have done, where we saw there was “no health in us” and we needed God.
And my life changed, too. I became a single parent, learned to deal with an ex-family, keep a home, find a job (with my dad- challenge), groceries, cook, car maintenance, bills, the whole life bit. So I needed a church where I felt the solid strength of God again. Around then interdenominational churches were becoming popular but they were a far cry from the church I knew as a child. No order of worship, praise songs before the offering, no prayers of humility, thanksgiving, petition, confession. There was a sermon, communion usually once or twice a month. But they did (mostly) center themselves on the Bible. So I went to one for several years, until I stopped hearing what I needed to hear.
I needed and wanted more.
So I found an Anglican church. They use the same prayer book I grew up with so I have those prayers to strengthen me again. And a favorite the priest reads, inviting us before we take the sacraments to intend to lead a new life. And sometimes I need to start over. Find my newness. Like in Romans chapter 6, “newness of life”.
I have a place I go in the mountains. Even in summer there is a freshness, a crispness there. It’s a different place, different air, different people. It is away from everything so nights, even warm nights, the stars are clear and sparkling bright. The crickets and owls are all I can hear.
And if I climb the summit which though it isn’t dramatic it is a workout, I might see a few deer, some bluebirds, butterflies in the wildflowers. Sometimes there is a bear or two though I have not ever seen any. They are shy, I am told if you speak to them or sing or clap your hands they run away. And I ask God to help me cleanse myself of my burdensome preconceptions, misconceptions, anger, dullness, impatience… by the time my newness is restored, it is time to go home.
And any separation anxiety from rescue dogs Lily and Lulu has disappeared as I begin wending my way back home.