Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back from God knows where

Tonight I decided to return to Calvary Episcopal. After a good month or so of either St. Lydia's or nothing, I returned. St. Lydia's was for the most part a pretty tame service, and by that I mean that it had little effect other than a sense of comfort and a little conversation.

Calvary has done something different. I am singing louder and deeper than I have at any service in months. These songs, largely in a more evangelical style where a projection screen displays the lyrics behind the musician, and songs that are relatively easy to pick up off just a few chords, are bringing something to the surface for me. It begins with some sense of trying to follow the words, then eventually I begin to find the emotion within the music. And in each song, the theme is the exact same: love and the power and glory of God. And the words are so simple.

This morning at Patrick's church in Astoria, the wording of the Nicene Creed seemed so stiff and formal: "He rose again in accordance with the scriptures." Umm, sounds like you're talking about a biology experiment, rather than the resurrection of God! And the songs are often so much more high-mass style.

Will high-mass style ever die out?

During communion, I went and was prayed for by a gentleman named C.J. I told him that a relationship I was in had recently ended, and the desperation I felt afterwards had shown me the lack of a foundation I had in my faith. He prayed for me, getting louder as the music got louder, and I felt overwhelmed. As I went back to my site, I was nearly in tears and as the end of the service came, I choked back tears.

I think there are times at which I've felt this church's message of God's love, and the need to surrender to Christ to at times be a bit of a mental assault, that it was too demanding in all its talk of Christ's blood, the visceralness of the words. Yet at the same time, I have felt God more consistently here, had that encounter in more than almost any church I've visited, perhaps more so than in Transmission as well at times. (I haven't yet come away from Transmission crying, but that day may come...)

It's time for bed, but I feel like I'm ending on a high note what started out as a tough weekend. Thanks be to God.