We meant to get up for church this morning. Wanted to make the 11 AM service at St. Thomas, an Episcopal church at 53rd and 5th Ave. We have visited there twice now, and find ourselves craving more of the liturgy and choral Mass. But we were out late last night at a friend's party where we played "Catch Phrase" and "Taboo" until way too late. So we missed the morning service and tried to make the Evensong 4 PM service. But the subways ran so behind that it took us an hour to get there, making us entirely too late. We ended up not going, and instead made the night service at Redeemer Presbyterian where they did a very weirded-out-meter jazz arrangement of "In Christ Alone" that required way too much thought toward how to sing the melody, the very reason why I think worship and jazz don't quite work together. But hey, that's just me.
As I struggled to sing a complex rhythm to a hymn whose beauty should be found in its simplicity, I missed my church in Houston and I missed my friends there. I missed singing the simple rhythm of a beautiful hymn and being moved together toward holiness in a way that is familiar to me. And that's when I finally understood why tradition is important, and why some church members and leaders fear change and resist it. Why some people like to sing from the book and not off the wall. And that I've judged certain people who enjoy what's comfortable. Maybe not out loud, but in my thoughts, but maybe out loud, too.
I missed what was comfortable and wanted so badly to just sing the hymn the right way. Just sing it the way it was written. Because that's the way I knew it. But I noticed people around me worshipping and singing and meaning it. And I realized that this was how they knew it.
For some reason, it felt good to miss my church. It must have been the sense of belonging. Or maybe it's because I had something that was good, and it feels good to have had it. Feels good to get that what I had was good. I'm not sure we always get it. But anyway,
I missed my church today.