Church

One of the things I am looking forward to when I move is going to the MCC in LA to hear Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.  I haven’t been to church in a long time and thinking about all that inspired me to get my ass out of bed this Sunday morning and trek through the snow (uphill both ways) to go to church.

I went to the Unitarian Universalist church in town and had cause to reflect on my relationship to the institution. 

It used to be walking into a new church always made me feel hesitant, I always had the moment of trepidation, the pause at the threshold waiting to see if the roof was going to cave in over my heathen head.  Entering a new house of worship usually meant I felt shy and awkward.  Today, I walked into the UU’s beautiful building and didn’t hesitate for a second.  I helped myself to the order of worship, found my hymnal, chatted with the friendly ladies with pink name tags that identified them as welcomers, looked around at the stained glass and felt like I was entitled.  I haven’t felt that way in a very long time, I felt like I had a right to be there.  I had a purpose being there.  I had a place there.  I cozied up in my pew and closed my eyes as I listened to the beautiful organ and was at peace. 

And I sat there in musical prayer, feeling uplifted and cradled by the notes I thought about my friend and pastor Robert Cross who passed away a few years ago.  He was probably one of the first people to make me feel and not just believe on an intellectual level, that I was welcome in the house of god, wherever that house might be, under a tree or in a rlds church that we were allowed to use in the evenings.  I miss him and think of him often.  And he sat with me for a while today as he does sometimes bringing me silent comfort and peace. 

The service was very nice.  It was probably one of the better sermons I’ve attended as of late.  The Rev. Stephen Cook spoke about the nativity story and what value it holds for christians or for unitarians.  He spoke to the lack of literal credibility and the universal wisdom of the story.  The story of the birth of christ speaks to our humanity and to the sacredness of the human experience.  The star that shone to announce his birth not unlike the star that shines to shed light on every infant who comes into this world filled with possibilities and blessings.  The story speaks to the value of this embodied life, in celebrating the birth of a baby we are celebrating our own humanity and the fact that this life is precious, fragile and filled with surprises, with pain, with suffering, with unspeakable beauty, joy and blessings.  The baby was born and was cared for and we celebrate him as a baby not just a man because we all start out weak, dependent on the care of others, and the love of others.  And what a wonderful thing to remember.  And his final message was a reflection on the ways we walk in the world, and how wonderful it would be if we could continue to walk through the world that way, in love and support.  And, that is really the ultimate gift we can give our friends and family, not commercial crap or mall santa claus.

I realized I miss going to church more than I thought. 

Sharing my spirituality is often difficult for me.  I guess somehow I have picked up the United Statesian attitude about religion, spirituality and worship as private.  I also have to deal with the conflict over institutionalized religion and the oppressive system it has traditionally been part of.  I deal with the politics and power of organized religion.  But, I keep coming back because it’s my place too.  My very queer, very political, angry brown latina place.  And there is meaning there for me and comfort. 

It will be nice to have a number of different queer/queer friendly churches to visit in my new home.  I’m looking forward to fellowship and singing and being in those spaces, especially now that I know that I belong there, always have, just now I really believe it. 

And tomorrow I’ll be going to a candlelight church service somewhere else. 

Next Sunday I’ll be in a new place and a new church and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to all the places where I hope to find community and comfort.

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