We have a nice snow cover which feels very Christmasy. Christmas is slowly taking shape inside as well. Seth and Anna arrive today, and we’ve waited to bring in the tree until they’re home. I love the, “Oh, I remember this!” that happens when the kids do the trimming.
With the frigid work of caring for cows ongoing, I had an enjoyable change of pace taking Grandma to church on Sunday. She’s a practicing Episcopalian who doesn’t get to practice much since she gave up her car. She was afraid no one in the congregation would remember her, but of course they did. We entered through the blood red doorway and were welcomed warmly in to their tiny community.
The Episcopal service is very participatory. Bonny’s eyesight isn’t too good, and I was lost trying to find the hymns and chants in the books tucked in the rack in front of us. As I was going back and forth between the hymnal and the prayer book, I turned to the fellow behind us with a questioning look. He cheerfully exchanged books with me as he was already on the right page. He would do this a couple more times before the service was over.
I have never been a churchgoer. My folks taught by example and provided all I needed as a kid. But still, I hated having to say I was a “nothing” when the other kids at school asked me what religion I was. Mark was raised like me, so it was natural to do the same with our own kids. I’m sure they had the same issues at school being different from their peers. Anna had the right idea when she told her teacher she was “home-churched.” Brilliant.
Grandma Bonny never forced her religion on anyone, but she did the kids a good turn when she enrolled them in bible camp over the summer. The camp was hosted by a different Christian denomination every year so the kids got comfortable with the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Catholics and the Methodists. Now wherever they go they’re at ease visiting local churches. Or not visiting them for that matter.
Thankfully I am comfortable as an adult, as a nothing. I don’t have to be a “believer” to believe in the power of faith and prayer and community. However and wherever each of us finds peace and comfort is good with me.
The best part of the service on Sunday was "The Peace," that time before communion where parishioners turn to one another in greeting. Handshakes and hugs are shared and wishes of peace exchanged. So fitting for the season. “Peace be with you . . . and also with you.”