Miniblog #246: Huh. Turns Out I’m More Contemplative Than Sacramental or Liturgical
My life has been fairly nomadic. Having lived in five states in 28 years, there’s really not a single place that’s “where I’m from” or to which I have a sense of loyalty. But, more than anywhere else, my hometown is Cokato, MN. After 11 total years there that were formative, it’s the closest thing I’ve got. A similar dynamic exists with University Church in Athens, GA. It’s the closest thing I have to a “home church” simply because it’s the congregation in which I was most cultivated into who I am today.11.It wouldn’t be accurate to say UC instilled my sort of Berean spirituality, but they certainly were the Lord’s instrument for giving me a peace about it. The people at UC saw my rigorous wrestling as a strength and a virtue rather than a weakness and a vice. That was new. For a couple years after leaving Georgia I had trouble making sense of all this. As an Anglican Christian, how could my home church be a local body that isn’t Anglican? The cognitive dissonance was profound. It probably bothered me more than it should’ve, to be honest. But two weeks ago I finally found my answer–at a Baptist church of all places. It was at DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco, TX that I finally became cognizant of my soul’s true longing. I love sacramental and liturgical services, so my presumption had long been those were my greatest needs. Yet I’d find myself utterly unable to worship, and therefore feeling bottled up and unfulfilled, at a loud, kinetic energy church like a charismatic Anglican congregation that’s all happy-clappy. Oddly enough, the same thing happened at a quiet, potential energy church like an Anglo-Catholic parish that treats ritual with great reverence. What I learned at DaySpring, then, is that for my heart, mind, and soul to commune with the Lord what I need is a contemplative service.22.In no way am I suggesting contemplative worship services are incompatible, let alone mutually exclusive, with sacramental and liturgical services. What I am saying is that too often we assume they’re innately one in the same. They’re not. That’s why I resonated so much with University Church. To be certain, UC is contemplative in a very different way than DaySpring yet both churches met this felt need I didn’t know existed. Huh. Turns out I’m more contemplative than sacramental or liturgical. Who wudda thunk it?