I’m working more these days (which is to say, I’m actually getting paid to work, as opposed to just doing free work that I love, but I’m still trying to do both – the free and the paid work – and thus my calendar is a little packed).
This means that Sunday church is becoming more and more difficult. New York is not a city that fully embraces early Sunday services, and so to catch an 8am service before I start work at 10am I have to trek several miles uptown, leaving my apartment at 7:15 if I don’t want to walk in halfway through the first reading.
I’m not sure how long this will work out.
However, the clocks were in my favour this morning: with the annual fall back and an extra hour of sleep, it wasn’t too difficult to get out the door relatively on time. I waited and waited and waited for a train to come, sipping my travelmug coffee on the overheated subway platform. I snuck into the service only a few minutes late, somewhere mid-Revelations and slightly happy to have missed all the doom and gloom. The gospel was the Beatitudes, which is table-turning and revolutionary enough to set me in a better mood. I tried not to be the person who constantly shuffled in their pew while rustling for Kleenexes, but my clogged sinuses made me feel pretty conspicuous.
Here’s the thing about early early church: it’s a short, quiet service, with no singing, no sermon, no passing of peace or other human contact. But when we all fit around the communion rail in one go, it really does feel like community, one body together, whether we’ll ever trade smiles or not. It feels like, we’re all up this early for a variety of peculiar reasons, and we’re all in this place because we really want to be and made an effort to get here for 8am. This is intentional worship, even though we’re just reciting the same words that millions have recited before from the same printed card of service liturgy.
We have a long day ahead of us: it’s only 8:30 am when we leave, and goodness knows we all must have important plans for the day if we had to be at church this early. Our lives are splitting into a million (or, approximately a dozen) different directions, but for this brief time we were all together, and we really needed to be here.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.