In years past, it’s made my heart sad to not have family around at Christmas. When I knew that I would have this time of Sabbath before beginning my new job, at the top of my list was to be with my grandboys at Christmas. It has been beyond wonderful.
Worship was lovely on Christmas Eve, and it was wonderful going to bed at a sensible hour snuggled with a grandson. However, I have been blindsighted by how I have felt not having a church family near.
I missed walking into the empty nave before worship began and feeling the fullness of a silent night. I missed my face aching at the end of Christmas Eve from smiling and greeting endlessly friends old and new. I even missed awakening with a Christmas morning worship hangover, and then driving to lead one more service and being greeted by holy quiet and the smell of incense in the nave.
What I’ve found myself missing the most was the accountability of being part of a faith community. It has been a challenge to keep the rhythm of offices and holy days.
In retrospect, I realized how much I need those faith relationships to keep myself centered in spiritual practices.
For example, it has been the custom of St. Mary’s to read the Gospel appointed for the coming year aloud in community in its entirety on an evening early in Advent. I committed to do this on my own this year but never made it through the whole of Luke. I need the encouragement of others to do what I know it is best for me to do.
Yesterday was my last day to be paid by St. Mary’s. Today I am officially Missioner of Congregational Vitality and an employee of the Diocese of Texas.
I ended my Christmas trip one day early in order to spend tomorrow looking for my new house. I’ll be working the rest of the week and needed to take advantage of the free day.
As important as it is for me to find a home with an address, this past month has shown me how important it is for me to find a home with a church community. As much as I crave my personal spiritual practices, this past month has clearly shown me how that is not enough for my relationship with Christ.
Good to know.