A vacation in the pews

A postcard for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/23/22.
Pictured: Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, TN, October 23, 2022.

It was a gift to worship at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, Tennessee.

Forty-eight weeks of the year, I am usually the one leading worship somewhere on Sunday morning. This past weekend I traveled to Nashville for a meeting on Saturday. Nashville is just far enough away from Birmingham that it made sense to go up the day before and drive back on Sunday. This meant that I was going to have the luxury of going to church on Sunday morning.

I went to the Diocese of Tennessee website and clicked through the parish sites. There were several options, but I finally settled on going to the Cathedral. I decided that I wanted to hear a big church choir and organ, and the church website reminded me that a colleague (formerly in Alabama) was on staff there.

So on Sunday morning, I took a seat in a pew in the middle of the church. I arrived early so that I could take in the light coming through the stained glass, browse the materials in the pew rack, and appreciate the beauty of the space. Moments before the service, the children’s choir came in. They brought with them giggles and shushing. The sermon was a continuation of a teaching series on the liturgy, and the preacher reminded us that the Eucharist takes us up to the very steps of Heaven and gives us a glimpse of God’s dream for us.

My favorite moment was going to the altar rail. At that moment, my colleague recognized me. With a joy-filled smile, she hugged me right there at the rail. She then pressed the wafer into my palm. While I know that good order and decorum don’t allow for hugs at the altar rail for everyone, I do think that is what we are meant to feel at the Eucharist. Pure joy, recognition, and thanksgiving that we are there, in the moment, with each other and Jesus.

A sermon for the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Heflin, Alabama, on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/23/22:

Principal text: Luke 18:1-8

Audio only

Coming next

  • October 30 – St. Michael’s, Faunsdale — 21st Sunday after Pentecost
  • November 6 – St. Barnabas — All Saints
  • November 13 – Messiah, Heflin — 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
  • November 20 – St. Paul’s Greensboro — Christ the King

Published by akhudlow

I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. I am a church nerd, printmaker, storyteller, and blogger.

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