You don’t always get … what you expect.

That’s true so often (in my experience) in our relationship with God.

But this morning I’m really only thinking about the service I attended at Trinity Cathedral (in Sacramento).

I grew up with the 1928 Prayer Book.  So the language is familiar and, in a sense, comfortable.  I’ve  used it all my life, at least off and on.  Yet at the same time, the language is uncomfortable.  The language is beautiful.  And the language is offensively sexist.  And usually, when I go to a Rite 1 service, I find the language grates on me.

I found that not to be the case this morning, at their 7:30 Eucharist.  Possibly because they included some prayers (which I suspect they may have written themselves) as a second collect (in honor of Nancy Tennyson’s retirement) and as the prayers of the people which were both beautiful in their own right and wonderfully inclusive.  That gave the service a kind of balance in language, which at least for this morning worked for me.

I’m also a big fan of using language as it is actually spoken by normal people – both because that’s how we talk and because people visiting are often distanced from real (and comfortable) participation by Elizabethan English.  It also irks me that people use the thees and thous as a device for formality to set God apart from them.  The language as it was used when it was written was the language of intimacy with God and friends and close family.  Today I experienced the intimacy of the thees and thous in my worship, and the normal language used in the (presumably) original pieces helped to draw me in.

The music was also lovely.  I expected that with David Link at the organ.  But, I suspect in honor of Nancy’s retirement, they used three of my favorite hymns (at least two of which, and likely all three of which, are often associated with children’s ministries).  Again, I grew up on this style of music.  And it’s comfortable.  Yet it’s not really my preference for worship these days.  But it really worked for me today.

Lynelle, as always, was wonderful as a celebrant.  There is a reflective depth when she leads worship that draws you in.  And it did today.  And Brian is a very good preacher.  He talked, accessibly, about how Jesus is less concerned about the bad things we do and the poor choices we make than about the alienation from him and each other that they cause in our lives.  And that the key phrase in the gospel for him was when Jesus asked, “… do you see this woman?”  Clearly Simon did not see her, though he knew all about the kind of woman she was and what she had done.  And Jesus did see her, and being seen changed her life.  The gospel invites us to the the Simon in our lives.  Not to pass judgement on the kind of person Simon is, mind you.  But to notice in our own lives where instead of seeing people, we see the kind of person they are.  And how, as Nancy retires, he is reminded that Nancy has always been the kind of person who, like Jesus, has seen the children for who they really are, and invited them to become themselves.

So, I had not intended to go to our cathedral this morning.

But I woke up early, and changed my plans.

I had expected, with a Rite 1 service (which I’ve been to at the cathedral before) to feel at least some sense of distance (even alienation) from the service.  And I didn’t.

Really, I thought, in going, that I hadn’t been to our cathedral for some time, and I was due.  And I woke up early and it would be nice to have most of the morning to myself before we gather for a Father’s Day dinner.  And even if I don’t love it, it will be fine and I will have spent time with God and God’s people in worship.

But I had unexpected Father’s Day coffee, from a coffee card left on my dresser by Audrey, on the way.  I got unexpected parking on 27th street when I arrived.  And I had a truly and unexpectedly wonderful experience in worship.

I was feeling (just the slightest bit) curmudgeonly when I went.

But God had other plans.

I could only say, “Thanks.” as I knelt after receiving the Eucharist.

Which is appropriate, after all, because that’s the meaning of the Greek word “eucharist.”

Thanks.

Advertisements