Moments of grace
My blogging friend, the Revd Chris Epperson, writes about a recent experience at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI. He’s been serving as Interim Chaplain there, and he describes a singular moment during a recent confirmation service.
In my mind, the great moment in the service happened at the Fraction. As Bishop [Geralyn] Wolf broke the bread, she started to spontaneously sing a fraction anthem. She sang in a hushed tone, the mic quietly amplified. The alleluias slowly wafted through the enormous chapel. All fidgeting ceased. It became very quiet except for the alleluias washing over all. It was quite a moving moment of the pronounced presence of the Holy Spirit.
For me, it was a moment signifying hope. It was a moment that showed just how open young people are to transcendence. The Church is always talking about how to reach younger people. We are always looking for innovative ways to accomplish this. Yet, in the midst of a very normal Confirmation, it happened. Maybe, it is less about us, and more about the Spirit.
I would add only that it’s not just young people. Most people are open to transcendence, but we don’t seem to allow enough of these moments in our liturgy. In the parish I serve — which tends to be a pretty boisterous place, liturgically speaking — one vestry member recently cited the silence at Ash Wednesday as the most God-filled moment in the recent past. Go figure. God’s transcendent presence shows up in surprising places.
(The photo is the only one I could find online of the interior of the chapel Chris writes about. A pity, because it’s stunning, and worth a trip to see.)