“One. . . . two . . . . Hmm . . . Five,” said Hubby. “There are five different typefaces on the cover of this order of service.” He conceded that some were nice. And that the church we visited Sunday was beautiful.
This was his first visit, my fourth I think. We had been looking for a church to attend together — I’ll be writing more about this later — and we’ve lowered our standards. We have two grades for churches: horrible and non-horrible. We’ve not seen much else. Our demands are modest: Christian, accepts us as a couple (rather than “friends”), easy to get to, and on the liturgical side. Or we thought they were modest.
The nearby Reformed/E&R-heritage UCC church was not-horrible, and we’ll be going back. I was touched by their almost insistent hospitality, which came across as more natural and willing than in my last visit. The somewhat difficult to follow service was the liturgy printed in the front of their (old red) hymnal, which were liberally borrowed from the Book of Common Prayer. For those who know the jargon, it was Morning Prayer with Communion. Except that there was a doxological hymn — to some, the doxological hymn, “All People That On Earth Do Dwell” — before the benediction at the end: a good touch, and more true to the response of a redeemed people than the anticlimax I’ve seen at the end of, say, an Episcopalian celebration of the Eucharist. Oh, and we were “debtors.” (Hubby and I prefer to trespass.)
The lessons were neither from the hymnal’s lectionary nor the Revised Common Lectionary, but fit the pastor’s rather touching and appropriately self-disclosing sermon. (The theme was loneliness.) It wasn’t gleeming with polish and glitz, but that’s OK since it is often a fellow-traveller with Preciousness, a sin which lands churches into the horrible category.
It was a communion Sunday, and the distribution was in classes, as found in much of the Reformed family. A group of communicants comes forward, welcomed in a formula beginning “take and eat . . .” and the elements were distributed in both kinds. The bread, I swear, was a brioche. The “grape” was served in small cups in trays, with a choice of juice or wine. The “class” is then dismissed as a group, and the action is repeated until all communicate.
After the service, coffee and cookies and chat. Fun to look at old church pictures. Nice people. Better than not-horrible I think.