Us Crazy Christians

They said I was crazy, but I know that already. Each had a better idea: Ride with us on Friday; take the bus from Durham on Saturday; what about a train? No. I am used to doing things alone, especially driving. And I refuse to miss Halloween with my kids, especially since Coco is knocking on the door of “too cool to dress up”. When I decided to leave at 5 in the morning, neither my husband nor my mother tried to change my mind. They know. Besides, daylight savings gave me an extra hour for the journey –God’s way of approving my decision.

The ride up 95 was easy with a new found podcast talking me through the familiar road. When I walked into my childhood home and saw my mother’s beautiful face, eyebrows drawn and hair damp from the faucet, we embraced, thankful for the safe journey. I looked at her and thought of the many Sundays which had started this way, how church has always been her home, and how fun it would be to share a pew with her again, getting to be just mother and daughter. As I anticipated communing with my mother, a pit grew in my stomach and jumped out of my mouth. “CRAP! I forgot my ticket in Raleigh” And the chaos -so normal to me- ensued. My husband had finagled me a ticket from the diocesan office months ago, and I had left it sitting on my desk. Going to church and needing a ticket never really computed. What should we do? Who could we call? How do we solve this problem?

We rushed across the Potomac River, hoping for the best, and parked in the shadows of the majestic cathedral. It was hard to remain frazzled amidst such joy. The Close looked like a Harry Potter set with people in robes and regalia floating around, greeting one another with smiles and hugs. The woman behind us took a bus from Vermont, another a plane from Houston. After an hour of waiting in line, I was given a ticket –The Reverend Yolanda Peters never claimed hers. The church doors opened at 11:40 as promised, my mother and I walked in, and all 3,000 of us were seated by 12:02.
The music started: British hymns, Native American chanting, Black spirituals, Hispanic flamenco. Pageantry and symbolism wafted through the air as I thought to myself, surely this is what heaven is like. We were asperged with baptismal water flung on us with boxwood as we sang Wade in the Water. We held hands and sang the Lord’s Prayer as if we were a mega church in a strip mall. Bishop Curry preached about the Jesus Movement, a new way of describing the evolution of faith. We were in this together and ALL were welcome. It was as if a tide was pushing us forward, the same gentle nudge that guided me up the road and throughout my life, quietly calling me. “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God” rang through my ears and into my soul. The message knit around my bones and reminded me to dance. Hope is alive and well and so are we. Thanks be to God.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Berry on November 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Beautiful, Melanie, especially today with the news from Paris. Linda

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Posted by John Constance on November 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks Mel. As we stumble around in the wake of the tragedy in Paris, this was a great mooring for my heart.


  3. Thank you for this beautiful story picture.


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