I've made it a goal for myself and Ava to attend church more frequently. Our Sundays are notoriously busy, whether due to a late night at work the night before and the need to decompress from a packed week, or navigating the children's birthday party circuit (unfortunately the only party circuit I am familiar with these days!), and so we frequently sacrifice going to church - something I'm less than proud of. As we close out 2012, I've chosen to start my resolutions early, and am attempting to take Ava to church as often as we can. This past Sunday was one such Sunday.
We went to a new church, since the church I am a member at received a new Rector a couple of years back and my feelings towards the particular locale have been waning ever since. He's a lovely person, but he doesn't inspire me the way that the interim Rector who was there at the time of my baptism and joining the church took place did, and so I'm looking around so as not to neglect our spiritual education due to a poor fit between myself and the current Rector. Anyhow, this past Sunday we attended a different location. It went a little something like this:
Ava, once we were officially settled in and quiet for the service to begin: "But where's God?"
HA. I explained to her that he was with us, but that he was present above, watching and feeling proud from Heaven. This seemed to freak her out more than anything.
Ava, when I'd shushed her gently during the sermon, "Why is that man talking so loud?!"
Two things were wrong with this statement. The obvious: the Pastor/Vicar/Rector was talking so loud because she was delivering the sermon. Also, it was a woman with a short haircut, not a man. Thankfully her face did not give away that she heard Ava's question. Whew.
Ava, after I'd asked her to read quietly for the 129038120938th time: "SHHHHHHHHHH!!" to the man coughing a few rows behind us.
Awesome. She even put her finger to her lips. At least I knew she was getting the point?
The best part came, however, during communion (doesn't it always?). As the Rector blessed the bread and wine, Ava asked first, "What that? Yucky bread?" and then, "That your wine, mommy?"
Thankfully we Episcopalians aren't exactly known for our teetotaling, and so that got quite the laugh from the small congregation, as opposed to a look of shame. Whew!
Despite all the mishaps and laughs, everyone came up to us to introduce themselves afterwards and told me how wonderfully she behaved. Maybe she was speaking more softly than I thought.
And now, a beautiful quote I came across the other day, that sums up my choice to join the Episcopal church a few years back quite perfectly:
"The Episcopal Church is the perfect paradox: firmly based in tradition, but never afraid to change; deep and meaningful theology without the headaches; and a strong community of believers who don't all believe exactly the same thing, but love each other anyway. "