Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday at 5pm

Did you know we have a quiet Saturday 5pm Eucharist in the chapel? This may be just the service you are looking for.  Jim Greer shares more:

My grandmother use to say, those who go to church on Sunday at 10:00 am love the music and those who go at 8 love the Word, but those who go mid-week love the Lord.

Attending Sunday service at 5 pm on Saturday is not quite the same thing as grandma had in mind, but it’s similar in its intimacy between the people and their priest and the language of the scriptures and the liturgy. We’re few in number, but God’s nearness is manifest and from beginning to end, it feels as though we’re in a conversation with an old friend.

Because it is the first mass of the Sabbath, the Sunday lessons are read and the brief homily – more a chat really, suggests the Gospel’s message for the holy day.

Oh, and because there is no printed program, we get to use the prayer book again; the historic and foundational Book of Common Prayer. I sense a smiling, 16th century Archbishop Cranmer someplace just out of sight. In no time at all, we become nimble once more in flipping pages to follow and participate. Doing so brings back sweet memories of an earlier time in our lives.

I suppose a Canon Liturgist might tut-tut the relaxed and not always perfect choreography of our service, but what hiccups there are, only draws the little community closer in good humor and in affection for our worship leaders. In a way it’s like seeing a movie version of a stage play or watching a game on TV – you get to see the close-ups, warts and all. And whatever makes it human, makes it dear.

The Dean includes herself in the officiating Rota and its good and right to have her with us from time to time. Most of our celebrants, however, are retired priests who have preached, consecrated and served the Lord’s Supper a thousand times or more. Even so, we know they love to be with us, still living their vocation and saying again the sacred scripts. We, in turn, feel blessed to have and hear and receive from such elders in the faith.

As a life-long Episcopalian, I’ve had the good fortune to worship in many of Anglicanism’s great churches and cathedrals, hear their classic choirs, observe their matchless pageantry and sometimes receive the host from the high prelates of our communion. Such an experience can be spine-tingling beautiful and deeply moving. Our great services are a gift to the people and are to be honored and repeated even while remembering that the Eucharist, as invented, was first shared in a rented upper room, sitting on the floor and then on the dusty road to Emmaus. On Saturday at 5, we’re almost as simple. We pause for a while, hear again the ancient texts, say our prayers and then take, bless, break and receive the meal. It fills our hearts and sustains us as we move out again into the world.

Our little congregation is composed of 4-5 regulars, occasional attendees - some recognizable while others are not. From time to time we have vacationing folks we’ll likely not see again, and on a lucky day, a street person or someone looking for relief will join us in our fellowship.

So, if you can’t make it some Sunday morning, or haven’t been for a while or if being with us at 5 pm on Saturday fits nicely into your other plans for the day or evening, come along and join us around the chapel altar as we share the loaf and cup and give and receive God’s peace, one to another.

--Jim Greer

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