Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lenten Orgies of Shame and Guilt

I used to get off on the Lenten Rites in the Episcopal Church of denial, and shame and recrimination over the Crucifixion of Christ. I used to love the hymns and the liturgy, the reminders of what Christ went through  He did it for us, the church says.

Some time ago I found the Good Friday reenactment of Christ's Passion tiresome and I stopped going to Good Friday services. Eventually, I got tired of the whole Episcopal Church and I stopped going. But four-and-a-half years ago, I came back to the Episcopal Church. I had missed it. I missed the tradition of getting up and getting dressed up and going to church on Sunday. I decided if I was going to come back, I would do it whole-hog. I started going to Evening Prayer, became involved in the Altar Guild. I wrote a column for my church newsletter. I started attending Bible Study. And I went to classes for those interested in joining the Episcopal Church, those desiring Baptism and those desiring to reconfirm their commitment, which is what I wanted to do and did.

But now…not so much.

I cannot bear to go to Lenten Services leading up to Good Friday which I do not relate to. I didn't even go to Palm Sunday services this year. I had always loved getting the palms and turning them into little crosses—admittedly, a distraction during the Palm Sunday sermon, but still, I liked Palm Sunday and looked forward to the denouement the next week…the joy of Easter.

But this year, I probably won't go to Easter Services either.

Maybe I'll feel like going to church again after Easter. I always liked Pentecost.

You could say I'm depressed about getting old and finding it difficult to walk anywhere, including church. And if you did say that, you'd be right.

But there is more going on. Yesterday, in a Facebook comment, I suggested the Anglican Communion needed to look inward to find the reason for a declining membership. I suggested that when any design does not work or is difficult to operate, it is not the user's fault, it's the design's fault.

And now I am trying to decide if my continued presence in my church can be a positive catalyst to effect the change that I feel is necessary, when I have no idea what that change should be.