In advance of Easter, the local paper here in central Indiana is soliciting readers’ views on their relationship with local churches. Since Easter ’06 was my first Anglican experience, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect.
Two years ago, I attended the Great Vigil of Easter at Christ Church Cathedral. I was in the midst of seeking out a new church with which to worship and a friend invited me. He and I were both raised in churches of the Stone-Campbell heritage and he thought I might appreciate the Anglican liturgy. “Appreciate” is an understatement. After becoming extremely disgusted with the “our way or go to Hell, literally” mentality of the CoC, I had moved on to a large, praise-Jesus-0n-the-electric-guitar-and-with-a-rocking-drum-solo variety of church. It annoyed me quite a lot; I think it might annoy God too. :) So, anyway, I was open to the idea visiting an Episcopal service.
From the moment the service began with the lighting of the Paschal candle to its end with an admonition to “go and serve the Risen Lord”, I was in awe. In awe of the deep, deep reverence for the story of God and his people; in awe of the respect for history and tradition – the feeling that we are but a small part in a grand movement that began 2000 years ago; but mostly, I was in awe of God – for leading me to that place at that time in my life. After I the service, I went home and began reading everything I could find on the liturgy, the Christian Year, the Church fathers, the Creed, the whole expanse of Church history that falls between the Apostles and Alexander Campbell – in short, everything that had been verboten as a member of the Church of Christ.
I’ve grown immensely since that first visit. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ‘arrived’. However, I have to say that what I have found is a group that maintains the great Traditions of the Church, encourages questions, and takes very seriously it’s responsibility as a church to act as the Body of Christ to the community. To any out there actively looking or merely curious, here’s the calender of events for Holy Week at the Cathedral.