Friday, March 21, 2014

Lenten Project: Third Fearless Friday

In late 2011, I left Sovereign Grace Church and started visiting different churches, sometimes two or three on a single Sunday.  I was thirsty, seeking...something. I just didn't know what.

I was depressed, discouraged, my marriage was all but over, but I knew there had to be something out there.  Something greater.  Something that wasn't just a rock concert at church, or a one-man show in the pulpit, or a guilt-fest in every sermon, or a legalistic show window.

Ann Schaefer with Hannah, 1983
My beloved grandmother had long reminded me to seek God first, and assured me everything else would become plainer with time.  But I didn't really know how to do that.  In my background of works, works, works, I didn't know how to let God speak for Himself.  I grew up trying to define God down to the very last characteristic, leaving nothing to Divine mystery.  My grandmother was always patient with me when we talked, answering question upon question about Lutheranism, different kinds of wine, and the best way to pack a suitcase.

With her encouragement, I decided to visit a Lutheran church near my house.  With that first visit, I knew I was home.

I posted to Facebook as soon as the service was over.

Everything was different, and yet so familiar, about the service.  I couldn't find the right page during the Kyrie or Sanctus, but I had several of the hymns memorised.  I didn't know when to cross myself, when to kneel, when to stand, when to say, "Amen."  But the Lord's Prayer was a comfort to me.  The Scripture reading confirmed what is true: the Gospel is preached in the Lutheran church.  There's no escaping it.

I didn't understand what the colours meant, or what the pastor's vestments signified, or why things were done in the order they were done.  I marveled at the Eucharist (I still marvel at the Eucharist, every. single. time.)  But I embraced it all.

I discovered new, and yet so old, Creeds.  Made me wonder why BJU had reinvented the wheel by creating a new one (which leaves important stuff out, too!).  I followed the lead of the woman in front of me and dipped my fingers in the water of the baptismal font on my way out.  Here was a physical reminder that I was always God's child, always held close, always beloved.

And that's the story of how I came home to Sacramental, liturgical Christianity.

What's your story?  How did you end up where you've ended up?  Is there someone who was a positive influence for you?