Today marked the completion of the first year of a service I have had the privilege of serving in at our church. It's a small service with usually no more than twenty attendees outside of those of us serving in worship. It's a quieter, slower paced service with more scripture readings than in our other services. We do not use the screens to guide the parishioners through worship. Instead, we use the bulletins and the hymnals just like the good old days. The service isn't afraid of quiet moments and pauses to let everyone find their place. We have communion every single Sunday and, because we are small in number, we are able to serve people while they kneel at the altar rail.
This service feels like home to me. The additional scripture readings, especially the responsive reading of the Psalm, along with using the hymnal and bulletin to navigate through service reminds me of how church was growing up in the Lutheran church. And, kneeling at the altar rail is the very best way to take communion I believe. I miss that so much and I wish our church could offer communion that way at every service.
This morning as I was getting ready for the service, the lights in the sanctuary went out. The breaker had switched off and it was clear from the heat coming off of the fuse that it wasn't wise to turn it back on. So, we had worship in a dimmer sanctuary. The altar, decked out in white for Christ the King Sunday, was aglow with several candles, making it the brightest spot in the room. It was an unexpected lighting scheme, for sure, but it was just beautiful.
It seemed a fitting way to close out the year and to look toward Advent, a time of waiting for the light of Christ, which shines so brilliantly on Christ the King Sunday, to enter the world again upon the celebration of his birth.