I've wondered off and on if the Episcopal church I attend is an anomaly. Though it isn't perfect, the reverence for God, the kindness to others and the care for the less fortunate make it such a comforting and Spirit-filled place to be. But then I start doubting that it's the norm (or even common) for Episcopal churches. I suspect I think that because I frequently get horrified diatribes from people who think I go to a spiritually dead, apostate church. It's really exhausting to deal with the assumptions made by people who have never been to a liturgical worship service, don't know what the Book of Common Prayer is, and don't care to think beyond what they've been told about churches other than their own.
Well, a few weeks ago, I was out of town on a trip and decided to find an early service with a local Episcopal congregation before my responsibilities began elsewhere. I wasn't that optimistic, honestly, because the early services are usually the more formal Rite I service. I don't mind a Rite I service, but I feel I usually connect better with a Rite II.
The church was small. I got there a little late, and felt a bit awkward at first.
But then. Oh, then, the Spirit was there in that service. The people were warm, and honest, and down-to-earth; not only is that a bit out of the ordinary for many churches, it was extremely out of the ordinary for this part of the country. God spoke directly to me in the readings and the homily. I realized it was by Divine appointment that I was there that morning - and I don't use that phrase lightly like I used to. I was filled to the brim with grace that morning.
The reverence for God, the love for other people, the kindness - it was all there. Just like my current church. Now I'm not saying that other churches or denominations aren't/can't be characterized by the same sort of love, but in these two very different churches a thousand miles apart, the same Spirit was there, and it was a holy time.
And I'm sad for people who refuse to see it.