Photo: My sewing machine (sorta) success! I was able to make a nice little organizer for all of my knitting accouterments so they aren’t all floating around the house. I’m in the last stages of making a “portable” one that can fit in a bag and I can take with me to the park! I learned a lot while making this and I’m no seamstress by any means… I have a lot to learn. But I’m not scared of my sewing machine and rotary cutter anymore!! This really doesn’t have anything to do with church, but… I had to put something here!
Lordy. Can I write about church again? Let’s write about Church. If you don’t wanna read about church today, that’s cool. I’ll see you Wednesday… I thought I wasn’t gonna write about church today, but I gotta.
Yesterday was week 3, and the family is starting to get into the hum of things. We’re getting up, having breakfast, getting Major to poop and Minor to stop screaming over every little thing… we’re becoming a family that goes to church on Sundays.
And, though I’ve kept it to myself, I’ve still had a bit of a bad attitude about it. I miss my easy Sunday mornings with my coffee and my news and my nicely prepared breakfast. Inviting one more day of schedule and stuff to my life has been annoying. But my husband is so happy.. really…. so I’ve been grinning and bearing it. The boys, too, are enjoying their time away from the parents and playing with toys and adorable teenagers for a while. Fine. And I told you, that Sunday school program is phenomenal… we checked in on that yesterday morning and it was like wow… just wow…
But let’s talk about the rest of it.
Yesterday morning was a guest speaker, a young adorable Pastor. No, seriously, young and adorable and talented. He did a jazz piano improvisation for the prelude that was just, ah… so amazing. I was fanning myself and making faces at my husband. He had that nice slicked hair and the ironic hipster glasses… I told my husband that this was the best Sunday of all, and he was like, “I recognize that I’ve lost here. I’m clearly no match for that.” I told him that this was too good to be true. The cake is a lie. Where is the deal breaker? My husband whispered, “maybe he’s a creationist or something…”
He wasn’t far off. Not far off at all.
So we go through the rigmarole of the liturgy: stand, pray, kneel, sit, listen, and so on and so forth. The first reading was from the book of Genesis… six days of Genesis…alrighty… We sing the Psalm, which was nice… we go through the second reading (from Phillippians chapter 1), ok great. Then it’s time to sing a hymn before the reading of the Gospel. Our guest pastor gets up again, dramatically walks up to the choir, raises his hands and starts Wade in the Water.
Yes, that Wade in the Water.
And it was hella awkward. Because, come on… it’s suburban Massachusetts and it’s liberal enough but… you know… do I have to say it? It was awkward!
But people were singing the parts that they knew… that one part that they knew… Being one of three Black people in the room, I allowed myself to sing, but I wasn’t tryin’ to be all in the spirit… and I looked over to the lovely Black father and son on the other side of the room, who I think were thinking the same thing I was… Lordy. For fun, there was the pre-teen girl some three rows ahead of me who turned around to look at me in the middle of the song. Like, “Hey! Ain’t this your jam??” (She didn’t actually say this. I’m interpreting.)
And when it was over… Lord… we read the Gospel (out of Matthew 13… the story about the first and the last workers…) and sat down for the sermon.
The sermon where this man, for a good half hour, berated us about “Creation Care” and climate change.
I care about climate change a lot. I try to take great care in doing my part, in keeping myself educated, voting for people who also care, teaching my sons to do what they can… I care. But this? This was a lot. Dude bro took us from fantastical imagery about what it must have been like to be the first to step through creation all the way to MLK’s letters from the Birmingham Jail. It was a lot. And not in a good way. In a very turn-me-off-totally kind of way.
And then, after service was over (he played another beautiful jazz improvisation on the piano during communion), The Husband and I went to shake our normal pastor’s hand in greeting, and he came up as well. He extended his hand, very… not warmly… “Hi, I’m [Climatus Maximus].”
“Hi, I’m Kyra.”
Awkward silence as we’re shaking hands.
“Um, it was a really nice service,” I offered. “You’re very talented.” That was sincere. He’s really musically talented! I could listen to him play all day!
“Thank you.” That’s all. It was this curt little mumble. I can’t always control my face, so I don’t know if I scowled at that moment. I hope I didn’t. I might have, though.
During our debrief in the car, I am breaking down this bewildering experience and then I came to a thought: “And what in the world did that have to do with Wade in the Water!?”
My husband shrugged. No idea.
“Wait, did he just use a Black spiritual for street cred, or something!?”
My husband just laughed. It’s not funny!! I have no idea why that needed to be there!
I told you at the outset that I can’t make this thing a spiritual exercise until it is an intellectual one. I don’t go to church for the music (though the music at this church, to be sure, is on point. Beautifully directed with a very talented group of musicians). I don’t really feel a compelling need to take The Body and The Blood every Sunday. I’m no good at making friends, so I can’t claim that church is about “community” for me. My walk with God starts with my brain and then gets into all the squishy parts like the heart and the soul. If I begin to think it’s wasted time, I know that I’ll stop going. And that service, for sure, was a waste.
I will say, though, in principle, that I like that this spiritual community has decided to think about big-world issues and take them on in intellectual, spiritual, and actionable ways. I even appreciate that I’ve been three times and the only thing that has been consistent is the music: Different rector each week, different blessings and events and stuff. It certainly isn’t a predictable place to come to, that’s for sure!
So… I’ll give it a few more chances… but Lord, my patience… my patience…
It’s a busy week here. Of course, my big birthday is on Saturday and I can’t even think about if for all of the things we’ve got going on this week. I’ll explain on Wednesday, but we’re doing a re-fi on the house (long story), and so I’ve got an assessor coming to the house tomorrow. You know what that means? I’m cleaning this house like a mad woman!! And there is the big apple-picking field-trip for school on Wednesday, which is coinciding with the insulation guys coming to finish their job the same day and, I’m hoping, a visit with a friend in the afternoon! Plus, you know, school… I hope someone’s giving me a vacation for my birthday!
(not gonna happen)
And did I tell you that my mother-in-law sent me a letter last week? Umph umph umph… hot mess…Tryin’ to decide if I’m gonna blog about it or let it be…
See you Wednesday, hopefully with much apples and apple by-products!