Thoughts after attending church in Scotland

St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Callander Scotland was made of grey stone and had an old green, wood door with cast iron hinges that creaked loudly when Amy and I tried to sneak in for a Eucharist service. In response, ¬†every head in the church – all 12 – swiveled in our direction and an eager usher hopped up to hand us a worn photocopy of the Scottish Episcopal liturgy of 1982. The sanctuary was dark and only a few shafts of light fell across the hard wood pews, most of which were empty. Music was piped in through an ipod connected to a few haphazard speakers that broadcast a “click, click, click” as the priest searched for the instrumentals to lead us in mumbled hymns. It was lovely and sad, intimate and therefore inviting, and I was taken back to Church of the Ascension in Sierra Madre, California.

I wandered into that small sanctuary over twenty years ago and was struck first by the almost too realistic wooden crucifix hanging over the chancel, a carved Christ broken on the cross. It dominated the sanctuary. Everything – ceiling, walls, pews – was yellowing wood. And it was perfect for that moment in my life, this warm cloistered, serious space. I was gutted by my recent divorce and needed a small, quiet church in which I could be a ghost. So I slipped into a back pew with my two children, ages 5 and 7, and for a long, long time simply let the words wash over me; it was all the faith that I could muster: Continue reading “Thoughts after attending church in Scotland”