Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Church?

I got up this morning, a Sunday, decided not to go to church, and then, at the moment I would have been on my way to church any other Sunday, but today was still in my pajamas, I realized I was on Altar Guild this morning and someone was going to have to clean up the sacristy after mass. But it wouldn’t be me. And that would be a great inconvenience for many people.

And yes, mea culpa.

But what is the real problem here? It is true, next month I will be 82, and remembering things that have not been noted with a huge sign on my bedroom wall is increasingly difficult.

EXCEPT…I remember everything that is important to me. I remember to meet my friends to go grocery shopping. I remember to go to the liquor store. I remember to watch Project Runway and Burn Notice. I remember to buy cat food, kitty litter and toilet paper.

Why am I increasingly finding it not important to go to church? Why do I forget that I am on Altar Guild the second Sunday of the month, when I can remember my Social Security check is put in my bank account on the 3rd of every month?

Why is my relationship with God a constantly nurturing one, when my relationship with the Episcopal Church and my own church is a constantly irritating one?

I like quite a few of the people I commune with. But I also find quite a few of them to be do-gooding assholes. I like our Rector just fine, although in the four-and-a-half years I have been back in the Episcopal fold he has never had a meaningful conversation with me. I really love the Assistant Priest. She tries to pick up the pieces our Rector leaves strewn around because he tries to do too much in too many areas too much of the time. But even she can only do so much.

I love the whole Canon of the Mass. Our church has a wonderful choir and the music is truly celestial. I love the moment before we are invited to the altar, when the priest reminds us of Jesus’s words at the Last Supper. I love the act of taking communion.

WHY AM I NOT COMPELLED TO GO TO CHURCH?  Why do I not feel a terrible loss or yearning when I miss mass? Why do I not feel I must get out and walk those six-and-a-half blocks every day, even if it’s just to go to Evening Prayer? I wonder about that. Because I used to feel that compelling pull from my church. I felt it last year at this time. What has happened?

Or more to the point, what has not happened in the last few months? Last Spring I reconfirmed my confirmation. The meetings prior to that official act were inspiring.

What is missing now? God and I have a sit-down almost every day. He is so much a part of my life. Why is the church not a part of my life?

AHA! More to the point: Why am I not a part of the life of my church? Why does my church not need me? That’s a good question.

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