Since my last Sunday at St. Mary’s, I’ve worshipped four times at New Hope Church in Bend, Oregon, once at the home of dear friends as we blessed their home, a Eucharist at Camp Allen with new clergy, Evening Prayer at Camp Allen with nearly clergy, Eucharist with the Junior Daughters of the King beside the lake at Camp Allen, at St. Helena Convent, Facebook Live Episcopal Worship to Anchor Your Day, in the Agnes Martin Gallery at the Harwood Museum, Morning Mindfulness at the Georgia Museum of Art, and ever so many times from my prayer chair.
Not once in an Episcopal Church.
Except from my prayer chair, all of these were within community. All were full of grace in their own way, and I believe that I was led by the Spirit to each of these holy places to worship God.
As God is teaching me about home, God is also teaching me about church.
One of my favorite descriptions of church is from the second chapter of the book of Acts:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. …..
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.
No longer a layperson who has “joined” a parish, no longer a priest called to serve in a specific parish, now serving in missions and parishes, as invited or sent, I am a peripatetic priest.
Today, as I celebrate twenty-six years of ordination to the priesthood, God is inviting me to reflect on my definition of Church.
From Saddle Blanket by Blanche C. Grant, The Harwood Museum
Church is God’s people gathered, and Jesus gives us an easy bar:
Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst. (Matthew 18.20)
If my home is in God’s heart, and God’s home is in my heart, then perhaps church is when two or three of us gather in the heart of God, and when we know that God is in our gathered hearts.
2 thoughts on “Finding Church”
Blessings on the anniversary of your ordination. I will celebrate 20 years in May. And I resonate with ‘finding church’ because when I leave my current call, I will be in your position. And because through the Living School, my view is so much more expansive. Would love to talk sometime.
This evening – the evening you “became a priest forever” – is one of fondest memories. Where have the years gone? You, my dear peripatetic priest, have ” made Church” in countless places and have helped so many find their way home.