Monday, March 24, 2008

Location, Location, Location

For as long as I can remember and probably as long as I’ve been Episcopalian, I’ve always sat on the Gospel side of center, at the side aisle, about a third of the way back from the crossing in whatever Church I was attending or visiting. Habits certainly die hard, don’t they?

We have long been members of the old downtown Parish here. Our Church was organized in 1868 and we’ve been in our current location and structure since 1879. That’s only 32 years after Texas Independence and three years after the end of the War of Northern Aggression. Over the years, our historic structure has had several additions since it was first built. It so happens that the extension of the Nave which occurred some many, many years back begins about a row or possibly two in front of where we sit. You can see the joint where the original flooring stopped and where the “new” flooring begins. There’s a seam across its entire width.

While attending Maundy Thursday Services last week, following Communion, during the Stripping of the Altar, my mind wandered a bit. In EFM we’re working on all the different Reformations in Europe in the 16th Century. This, in turn, caused me to consider that much like our house of Worship, I’m somewhere between the past and today: trying to remain faithful to our tradition and yet be cognizant of modern knowledge and reason. And no, I didn’t forget culture, it was omitted for purpose.

That faithfulness presents a hard line to walk, but then that’s probably why I embrace Anglicanism. The Elizabethan Settlement (aka the Via Media or “Middle Way”) seems a successful attempt at bridging differences in the practice of faith while remaining true to fundamental principles of Christianity. Would that we were so fortunate as to have that wisdom and guidance today we would be much the better for it.


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