Monday, April 4, 2011
Can You Do That In Church?
By Connie Thomas
Tonight at Community of Travelers, we had a new voice- Pastor Gary led the service. He is a retired Episcopal minister who has been working to further deepen his faith since his retirement.
The gospel tonight was about the man that was blind and Jesus gave sight. We explored the gospel in a brand new way, though- we read the passage 3 times from 3 different translations. Between each reading, we discussed what we each picked up from the passage and what we thought about it. It was pretty neat- the idea is for us to personally explore the gospel, rather than have somebody tell us what to think about it. What I loved most about it was, for the most part, each person naturally focused on a different aspect of the story. It helped me open my mind to the perspective of others in the room.
What totally threw me off tonight was when Pastor Gary offered up a Buddhist prayer during the service.
What? Isn't that, like, against the rules? I was taken aback until I remembered that the whole point of Community of Travelers is to not have rules. Of course, there are basic traditions we must follow, otherwise it's not really a church service. Aside from that, though, anything goes- we welcome different viewpoints and ways to think about things. So, Pastor Gary took his experience of exploring his faith, and brought it into our hearts. It was both intense and wonderful. It was a good reminder of the gifts that being open to new experiences can bring.