Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Part Two... a Liturgy Newbie

Whew.

Thanks for reading Part One and not hanging me out to dry.  I'll admit now that I had loads of anxiety during the hours that the post was being read.

So St. Tim's... What was this Baptist girl to do?!?  I grew up at a mainline Baptist church.  I worshipped more recently at an Evangelical contemporary church.  Both of these feel familiar to me. I know how to follow along in a hymnal, or even on projected screen.

Dan had grown up in an Episcopal congregation... worshiping at St. Tim's felt like old home to him.  But me?  I felt like I was reading a script.  It wasn't worship as much as it was a group reading.  My only experience in an Episcopal church prior to this was as a visitor.  In fact, my first experience was when my friend Angela had me visit with her in high school.  The bishop was visiting her small congregation and she wanted me to come to the service.  All I remember is that at some point during all of the sitting and standing I tripped over the kneeler and fell for all the congregation (and the bishop) to see.

When Dan and I married, we didn't have much of a discussion of where we would worship together.  I was on staff at a Baptist church.  No discussion needed.  When we moved to Winston, however, and we began our search- we picked more contemporary services over those of a traditional bent.

So (again) St. Tim's... What?!?!  How on Earth would I even begin to fit in when worshipping in this space at first appeared daunting?  Again, I have nothing to ascribe it to other than the Holy Spirit.  This place felt right.  Immediately.  I knew I was supposed to give it a try.  I knew I was supposed to be open to new things, including giving this faith heritage a chance.

(Small caveat... I am not a big proponent of going where it "feels right"... Church shouldn't be a consumeristic space in our lives, yet it often becomes this.  All I'm sharing now is my perspective of how something so different than my previous experience immediately felt sacred and, well, right.)

What I have found at St. Timothy's is beautiful.

It is a chance to participate in the Church universal- knowing that my prayers are being echoed throughout the world.

It is learning a whole new (to me) faith tradition- and I often feel as though I'm right back in my Religious Study days.  Sometimes in Bible Study my hand goes numb as I am furiously writing all of the nuggets of wisdom I'm learning.

It is beginning to understand the beauty of Liturgy.  And to agree with what my friend John said when he pointed out that Liturgy gives him the structure to worship even when his heart doesn't feel like it. It's putting a dialogue in front of me that I get the chance to participate in- and know that I'm not alone in that process.

15 years ago- the thought of Liturgy would have been a roadblock for me.  It would have felt limiting to all that God could be teaching me.  Today, however, it gives structure for the way in which I hear His voice.

One of the biggest things I've learned in these recent days is that there is so much freedom in how we worship.  Something in which we fail frequently is assuming that truth can only be learned in one way- our way.  And now that I've worshipped in churches that are traditional, mainline, conservative, liberal, liturgical, contemporary, and other... I'm seeing a bigger understanding of Jesus's teachings.  I'm grateful for this path- although at moments it's been beyond painful.  I'm grateful that my community of the faithful has been gracious when we don't line up theologically and politically.

And I'm grateful that His mercies are new every morning.

Thanks be to God.

4 comments:

Josh Freeman said...

Becky,
your story is not too dissimilar to my conversion to the Catholic church. There is something freeing about not expecting something completely new each week, nor judging the value of Sunday morning on how it makes you feel. It is very different from your background in a Baptist tradition or mine in the Church of Christ... but it is so much more fulfilling. I have lots for you to read if you have questions.

Nancy B said...

Becky, having been all over the place as Tim & I moved with the military, and even before, I've learned to appreciate the variety in God's family. the Bible talks of the beauty and majesty of coming before the King in His glory, and yet also talks of coming to him like a child to his daddy's arms. Similarly, there's incredible beauty in the rich liturgy of the "high" churches, and in seeing Him through the lens of a pattern that is being echoed world-wide. At the same time, coming to him in a more casual service, with a focus on a sermon, or in a charismatic, Spirit-led spontaneity also is valid. Either way, we worship our Father, the King of all creation. BTW, for those who think about this, I've become convinced that somewhere in heaven, there'll be a corner for the New Orleans Jazz praise, for Gregorian chants, for Bach Chorales and Luther's hymns, as well as a corner for those who just want to lift their voices in Praise Choruses and "contemporary" hymns!!! All will be praising Him!

Sharon Swink said...

Becky I grew up in a Baptist Church and because of some things that happened I vowed never to attend one again. Then Kent and I went to Center Grove and the preaching was amazing, the music was amazing and the people were too. God bless you on your faith journey!Thanks for sharing! I have been afraid to share mine.

Sharon Swink said...

Becky I grew up in a Baptist Church and because of some things that happened I vowed never to attend one again. Then Kent and I went to Center Grove and the preaching was amazing, the music was amazing and the people were too. God bless you on your faith journey!Thanks for sharing! I have been afraid to share mine.