The Church always feels like it is truly being itself to me at the Cathedral at 7.
This is partly based on my own preferences. The contemporary style of worship
used in the service reminds me of my Evangelical church growing up yet the liberal environment (and strong presence of a gay pride flag) reminds me that my personhood is safe here.
It is also based partly on the community. They are a community of people I mostly know through Bible Study, Wednesday night dinners, Game Nights, and volunteering together at Church but also through bar hopping, clubbing, plays, festivals and other college typical excursions. So, part of why the church feels like it is truly itself to me at this service is because the Church is the community of people I love worshipping God and at this service, a lot of them are there. And their voices matter. We don’t just listen to a pastor or a bishop tell us the Good News. We tell each other the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have chances to preach and connect and challenge each other. There are also snacks. And, in my experience, the church feels more like itself when we’re all well fed and not grumpy.
But it mainly feels like itself to me at that service because we are authentically present in each other’s lives. Above, I gave some examples. We’re not just present in the church part of our lives but we invite each other into everything and maintain strong friendships and ties to community outside the Cathedral building. But also, because at the 7 pm, we rant and rave and cry and have panic attacks and ask each other why a God could possibly do something like this and talk about political events and people who have died and sometimes sleep.
We are a community that is representative of the emotions we feel being people. This is not always pretty. This often involves some very bad jokes in the interest of cheering people up. But we never pretend that the world is perfect or that bad things don’t really suck. And it is that authenticity as a group which lets me lean into our church as church. I’ve been at the service while people are tuning their instruments, chatting, where children are running around and trying to climb into the pulpit, where the preacher looks over last minute notes and while people cry because life is very confusing and very draining and we don’t always know where God is or what is happening. And that is the church being church at its finest; when we are there for each other, trying to structure things around Jesus, and loving each other competently or incompetently, as our talents are and as we are so called.