Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coming Home To A New Rhythm

Years ago, Elizabeth Elliot wrote a thoughtful essay on the theme of worship.  In it she spoke of how our Sunday time of coming together should also be a coming apart.  It should be separate from our daily flutter and fuss in the world.  It should be separate in form and feel, in simplicity and substance, in thoughtful quietness.

This I understood.  My early years of worship experience were among the Plymouth Brethren.  That form of worship follows that format.  Then I married a Baptist.  That tradition brought with it a bit of culture shock, yet in the early years, it was not really all that different.

During our child raising years, we were Mennonite, conservative but not ultra-ly so. I felt like I fit in that form and structure.

Then there were our years of ministry.  In the beginning I felt very much a 'Mennonite missionary to the Baptists'.  Most of the churches we served were Baptist.  The others, that blend referred to as 'community' with every sort and breed of denomination adding to the mix.

All those years I felt very duck-out-of-water-ish.  I jokingly referred to myself as a closet Anglican.  In large part, that is due to the fact that the churchmen and women whose writings have most influenced me have been High Church.  My thinking and theology has been saturated with these.  The Book of Common Prayer has long been a tool of private devotion.  The liturgy speaks to me.  The clearly lined structure suits me and quiets my spirit.

Now, after many agonizing months of prayer and searching we find ourselves in fellowship with a Lutheran congregation.  Now, to be honest, Martin Luther and "Kitty, his Rib" have long been on my list of heroes of the Faith.  Yet, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being one with them.

I hasten to add, that reading liturgy in ones cloister chair is quite different than reciting it in community.  In the beginning, there were apologies to our present pastor that we were new and awkward to the rhythm.  But we have continued on and are finally getting in step with this new rhythm to the old Song.

The Dear and Patient Husband, a dyed in the wool Low Church/Chapel/ Baptist, in the beginning was, I well know, indulging me.  But over time he is being won over.  This is because, in part, this is a singing church, full volume, parts and all.  Even the children and teens sing the hymns.  And oh, those old hymns - all verses are sung, even those on 'the next page' outside of the written score.

Most important for us both is the dear young pastor.  He is clearly a man of Faith, Spirit filled and directed who knows and loves his Savior.  He, Sunday after Sunday preaches Truth from scripture with a joy and zeal that is uncommon in this day and age.  

So here we are after all these years.  It is a new and challenging experience.  We are most grateful to have found a spot that is our heart's home for now, for this season.

Thanks be to God for His amazing leading and His great goodness. 

The church pictured is that of The Church of St. Columba, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, England.


  1. Aren't you grateful that God's truth goes beyond man made names and denominations?

  2. I want to go to your church!!

  3. How wonderful that you've found a church home. I'm so pleased for you. -- And oh, those wonderful hymns, I do love them!

  4. Such a read! Thank you. Thankful for the direction to a new home for this season. And I can hear The Parson singing his parts robustly!