I visited yesterday with a man who had worshiped at Christ Episcopal Church on Sunday. He told me he and his wife were seeking a new church home.
I did a lot of listening and found myself moved by his sharing of his spiritual journey. He knew God as a loving, saving God. He was articulate in telling me his story. And authentic.
He had grown up in one particular denomination. It had been his family's tradition for generations. He had given a lot to his church over the years in service. He said he felt guilty thinking about leaving.
I asked him, "Might God be calling you to remain a spiritual leader right where you are?"
No, he said. He thought God was calling him elsewhere. And so he and his wife were visiting other churches on Sundays.
"I thought," he said, 'why not visit the Episcopal Church?'"
He said he was not angry with his former church or pastor or denomination. Rather, he no longer felt a sense of worship at his church and missed it. He needed to experience God's living presence once more, that sense of the holy.
At Christ Church on Sunday, the first thing he experienced was silence in the church before worship began. He saw people kneeling and praying in that silence.
And then he met God in the Holy Scriptures and sermon, in the music, and in the Holy Communion. Everything about the service, including kneeling for prayer and to receive Communion, helped him enter into the "moment" with God.
He left worship feeling filled spiritually. He was better prepared to meet the week ahead in faith, hope, love, and joy.
I sometimes take for granted what I experience here in the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and Thursdays, that sense of mystery, wonder, awe--the holy God.
And it takes a visitor to remind me how blessed I am by word and sacrament and this blessed community of faith.
Thank you, God.