Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square
I apologize for the late post, this week has been very busy and I have this bad habit of leaving my laptop at work, so when I get home and decide to write my blog my laptop is MIA. Thanks for bearing with me.
This past Sunday, I attended Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square. This church is old and beautiful and very close to where I live, so I could walk there. My decision to attend was mostly due to laziness on Sunday morning and picking the closest church, but it was also nice to visit an Episcopal Church for the first time.
The Episcopal Church practices Anglican Communion, and describes itself as “Protestant, yet Catholic” which is confusing but I like that they don’t feel a need to be pigeonholed. It had the traditional look of the first church I visited this year, which was an Anglican church, but had a much friendlier feeling. All the leaders and the choir were dressed in robes and the building was ornate and large, but the reverend was making jokes and welcoming individual members of the congregation that he clearly knew well.
Their pamphlet for the day described the service as the “Sixth Sunday of Easter” service and I thought, guys I think it’s time to move on from Easter, we get it. The message, however, didn’t really focus on the resurrection, so I think the service referred to Easter in name only.
I was very tired the morning I attended Trinity Episcopal, and so I didn’t take as diligent of notes as I normally like to. I didn’t feel as engaged as I normally do. It wasn’t the church’s fault, I think that I am getting some wear and tear from this project. I like doing it, it makes me think very deeply about things I hadn’t considered before, it’s making me more open-minded, but it is also exhausting me. Who knew confronting the big questions about life and existence could be so burdensome? I need to find some energy and rejuvenate this project. I need to find some ways to value each experience separately even if it feels like one I have already had or the message feels recycled from a sermon I’ve already heard. I’m sure a lot of church-goers encounter this, after a while of attending church some topics probably get replayed. I don’t know how to look at it with fresh eyes every time, but I’m open to suggestions.
Trinity Episcopal’ s sermon was a lot of the same old, especially given I was feeling so physically and spiritually tired, but two things struck me enough for me to remember them, write them down, and mull them over later.
The speaker for the day was not the reverend but instead a man who was considering going into the ministry. He was also British, so his accent was excellent and sounded so much fancier to my American ears than any other speaker I have heard in a church. His sermon focused on his trajectory within the faith and how he felt called to fight for social justice issues, and he wondered if the church was the right path to accomplish that calling. He thought maybe ministry wasn’t the best fit, because he might not be able to affect change in the same way he would if he were fighting for social justice while not being affiliated with a religious organization. The moral of his sermon was that God was calling him to care for others, so he would do so through the church and through God. I’m not sure I, personally, agree fighting for justice with a church is better than without one, but I do think fighting with support is much better than fighting alone. I think using the church as he is, as an advantage to accomplish his goals for societal good and not just his own personal good, is admirable. And also, let me emphasize again, his accent was GREAT.
He also referenced John chapter 5 where Jesus explains that one cannot love the father (God) and not love the son (Christ). He used that to say, if we love God, the father (or mother, I prefer feminine pronouns) of all humanity, then we must love her children. Saying we love God means we must also love God’s creations – each other. This sentiment is so uniting, and sweet, and reminds me that Christian values (as I might interpret them) are not always American, mainstream Christian values. That is to say, this sentiment of “love everyone” is very clear in the Bible, as where I think some churches and some Christians view their purpose as spreading the word of God and shunning or shaming those who don’t believe. They take it as their duty or right to baptize the world, and for those who refuse their offer to be a follower of Christ, they have the sentiment of “oh well, I tried, you’ll burn forever.” But it doesn’t have to be that way, interpretation is key.
The speaker at Trinity Episcopal used the idea of loving everyone to try to inspire some social justice action from the crowd, and I don’t know how successful his attempt was, but it did make me think “I should be doing more to help other people.” It was also nice to walk back home after the service and fall back into bed for quite a while.