Dear Friends in Christ —
Anyone who plans liturgy knows that theological principles are important—but that those principles can never be separated from the practicality. And anyone who spends long enough in church learns that the practicalities of our incarnate life generally teach us all that we need to know about God.
Let me explain what this means.
The architecture and worship with Grace draws heavily on the wisdom and tradition of centuries of Christianity. Traditionally, the baptismal font is at the back of the church, near the door, representing the way in which baptism is entry in the church. (If you look at the stained glass windows there, you will see the baptismal theme.). Traditionally, we receive communion kneeling at the altar rail.
I would love to be able to be traditional right now.
COVID, of course, has thrown a lot of our traditions into disarray. Even though the peak of the crisis is passing, we are still making many accommodations. The baptismal font now stands in front of us at the crossing, allowing more space in the small, busy area at the back of the
church. We’re receiving communion standing at stations in the crossing, as well, spreading ourselves out further than we would be at the rail.
These changes were made from practicality. But they have something to teach us.
What is happening, by default, is that the crossing area is becoming a focus of our worship. In that space, we are reminded of the two primary sacraments, baptism and communion. In that space, this Sunday, we will bring forward our pledge cards, as a sign of our discipleship.
Life, right now, feels like a crossroads. Old and new are intersecting with one another. Some days, it’s hard to know which way we are going. There is more change than anyone would like.
But remember: one of the oldest names for Christianity is “the Way.” It is these intersections that teach us who we might become. If you look at the images for All Saints Day, they are almost always processions on their way somewhere. (“Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host . . . “)
We’re on our way, too.
I’m not sure where God will take any of us next. But we stand at the crossroads together—along with all the saints past and saints to come. And that crossroads has much to teach us.
Yours in Christ,