So, the past two weeks, my wife and I have attended an Anglican church here in town. The first week was sort of odd. I liked a lot of the service, particularly the liturgy surrounding the Eucharist. But it was not a normal week for them. It was their annual commitment Sunday where people are reaffirming their commitment to serve and their commitment to financial stewardship. Then they had an infant baptism. Then there was a fairly lengthy testimony from one of the older members who has been going through cancer treatment and to top it all off, it was All Saints Sunday and the assistant rector was delivering the sermon instead of the senior rector who I had heard before from message on their website. So between all of that and being completely unfamiliar with the liturgy and when to sing or when to respond, plus the service running long, we left with mixed feelings.
On a side note, if all that mattered was how we were treated, we'd have joined on the spot. Hands down it's the friendliest, most welcoming people I've ever encountered visiting a church. Anyone within a 20-foot radius managed to make their way over to us and warmly greet us. People sitting right behind us or on the row with us were helpful in pointing out where we were in the liturgy and where to go and what to do. Sweet, sweet people.
I wanted to return and at least experience what would be considered a "normal" Sunday for the church before making a decision. My wife wasn't so sure. I think when I said I wanted to visit a more traditional church, she wasn't envisioning quite as much tradition as I was. So we talked and she agreed to go the next Sunday as I had been assured via email correspondence with the senior rector that this Sunday would be more of a typical one for them and he would love to meet me afterward. I agreed that if we left and she still felt the same way about it, we'd go back to the contemporary church we'd been attending and see what God had in store for us there.
Well, we went this past Sunday and again, I really liked it. Being more used to the order and "rhythm" of things the second time, we didn't feel so lost and confused. The rector's sermon was excellent. Such strong, Biblical preaching and teaching. And again, the liturgy of the Eucharist was so reverent and worshipful and I just love partaking of the Lord's Supper every week. We met the rector and his wife and liked them a lot. They seem like genuinely caring people.
But I wasn't sure what my wife thought.
So we're talking on the way home and I ask her how she felt about it this week and she said that no one was more surprised than her, but she really, really enjoyed it. She felt more comfortable. We sat a little further back and in a weird way, not getting so much attention made her feel less "watched" and more able to just take it all in. She enjoyed the sermon and the hymns. It was a good all around experience. After making sure she wasn't just saying what I wanted to hear and that it's truly how she felt, we have decided to commit to attending for a least the next month. We want to find out more about their children's program and maybe meet with the rector and find out more about their particular place in the Anglican communion, more details on the doctrinal beliefs and so on. So I'm excited.
Just be in prayer for us as we seek God on where He wants us. And pray that we will be able to dig deeper into all that a liturgical approach to worship has to offer.