From Calvary to Grace to Trinity

24 05 2012

In addition to singing in the choir during my two years at Calvary, I was active in other parts of the music program including singing the bass part in a Southern Gospel quartet which I had put together. There was a great sense of teamwork among the four of us … one of us would pick out the songs from old hymn books, another would re-work the harmonies to fit an all male ensemble, and then we would sing during the offertory at services or during special events. Music has always been a core part of my spiritual life. I find that I enjoy singing in small groups more than large choirs or solo pieces. I might have stayed at Calvary Baptist for quite a while, or even considered membership but unfortunately, the messages we began to hear from the pulpit became more and more politically charged as elections drew nearer. I began to seek out other places of worship in an effort to hear the gospel rather than a political agenda cloaked with scripture and other ecclesial trappings. While I was on my search in the Summer of 2004, I noticed that along with the healing and the integration I experienced, I discovered that my outlook on life and my beliefs on what it meant to follow God had changed somewhat, and I began to visit other mainline churches in addition to more moderate leaning evangelical churches. It was at this time that I began to feel drawn to The Episcopal Church. After visiting a few parishes such as St Bartholomew’s near my office and St Clement’s near my home, I ultimately decided to make my home at Grace Church, having discovered it quite by accident some years ago while wandering around the East Village late at night and lost.

I was deeply moved by the liturgy, the music, the appreciation for education … all the things that make up the very best of Anglicanism. I found a breath of fresh air coming into my soul. Here was a place where worship was of great importance; not just worship in song, but through common prayers and scripture readings. The Eucharist, especially the Eucharistic Prayer itself, became even more meaningful in a liturgical setting. My appreciation of the Book of Common Prayer deepened as I explored its different rites of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Eucharist, as well as the other liturgical forms it carried. I found the sermons to be thoughtful, intelligent and pertinent to the season of the Church year and the readings of the day. Another thing which I found to be a great strength of this church is its desire to be Christ to others in this world, which was reflected in its many outreach and relief programs. Coming from traditions where the normal course of events was to divide and walk apart in the wake of a disagreement, I felt I had entered into a place where no part of the body of the Christ is easily willing to say to the other, “I need you not.” When the Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion is working and acting at its best, I believe that, like with the before mentioned ensemble singing, we get yet another glimpse into what God is like as Trinity: a being of unity, as well as a social deity in relationship, communion and conversation with “God’s-self.” Different voices, different parts, but all singing the same song

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