I love the Episcopal Church because it’s kinda like Starbucks.

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Maybe it’s because a cold front came through the Fargo area last week and I went into our front hall closet and started ripping open the boxes labeled: Winter Clothes. I completely panicked. It was a bad time for the next thought to enter my mind: And the closest Trader Joe’s is over 100 miles away! I wanted to cry but I had already put on my mascara (which I later found half way down the stairs and decorated all over the walls by my almost 4 year old). I’ve been shopping at places called Cash Wise and Sydney’s. And I actually had to try a Dairy Queen ice cream cone to understand why people around here stand in line and wait to get one IN THE WINTER. (I think I get it. I may have to eat some more to satisfy that curiosity.) “Oh for fun!” I don’t know if it was the fact that I never found my favorite hat or the sudden ache in my heart for my friends and my life in Chicago that made me grab my cell phone and call a local church.

After getting lost in a whole new area of Fargo (and finding a toll bridge and a nice man who let me drive on it without paying since I had just spent all my change at Dairy Queen) I found the beautiful red Episcopal church.

st. stephens

An elderly man rushed to put a bulletin in my hand and I began to say the words I knew so well. Something shifted in the room. Maybe it was the white gentle light of the setting sun pouring in from all the windows. Or the incense that filled the air and hung on my clothes. The liturgy suddenly became poetry. Like an old rhyme I knew as a child. (I’m not a cradle, but I guess after 10 years this stuff seeps in.) I didn’t know how much I missed it. I knew when to sit. I knew when to stand. My body was moving to the rhythm of a worshipful dance (we call it pew aerobics). It was an Alleluia! moment, like finding a Starbucks in some foreign land like China–or Fargo. I knew the customs, the menu, the song in the background. I knew that feeling of being in a place so welcoming that a lost part of yourself returns home.

labyrinth Father Jamie actually invites the congregation out for dinner following the Wednesday service. I joined them for Thai food and lively conversation. Everyone was so warm. So Minnesota Nice. A part of me was ready to dive in and get to work. Another part was discerning. I stood in front of the stone labyrinth in the church yard and thought of the yoga concept of non-attachment. I remembered that I can let go of my attachments to the outcomes in my life. It is enough to be fully present in this moment of the journey I am on. I can let it unfold. I can take the next step without assuming all that may or may not follow. I can be open to the Spirit.

I am grateful for this journey, and this taste of familiar grace.

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3 Comments

Filed under christianity, church, culture, episcopal, religion, spirituality

3 responses to “I love the Episcopal Church because it’s kinda like Starbucks.

  1. MJ Leewis-Kirk

    Thanks, Jess, I am anticipating the similar panic when we move north! I pray for a “little red church” to appear. And the wisdom to take life one step at a time. Hugs, dear one

  2. This post makes my heart ache and brought some tears to my eyes. Maybe more than I realize (or would care to admit), I miss and long for that connection to the moment and the familiarity of the setting.

    *sigh*

  3. Vanessa

    Hi Jessica! I’m a new Fargo resident from Virginia and I too happily found the little red church that is St. Stephen’s. It’s amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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