Last week I talked about my decision to be confirmed as an Episcopalian. This week I wanted to give you the up-date. I DID IT! Was it easy? Absolutely not.
Anytime we do something meaningful we are faced with fears of doing something new, changing something up, and doubts about our readiness. I have been taking the Episcopal 101 class to get a deeper understanding of the formation of the church and their beliefs. I was surprised to learn that I am aligned with their beliefs. I was raised to believe that I wouldn’t be aligned with other faiths. I also learned how be more intentional about my worship that opened up my Spirituality to a new level.
Even with all my meetings with Father Joe, attending a weekly healing service to work through fears, and all the education and worship time on Sunday mornings, all my old fears came up. The Wednesday before confirmation I was almost convinced I might back out. I spent time in the sanctuary of the Parish before going to the healing service in the chapel that Wednesday. I needed to figure out if I was at peace with my decision to be confirmed. I knelt in the dark with staring at the lit up cross of Christ on his throne. I was seeking confirmation that I was making the right decision and I humbly asked that I would have a knowing in my soul.
In the very next moment, I had the urge to look up the words to the song; It is Well with My Soul. I found the lyrics on my phone, and as I was kneeling I sang the hymn that I love so much. This was the same hymn that was being sung at the Metropolitan Community Church when I was struggling to own my homosexuality. As I sang the verses of that song, a peace came over me and once again I knew that it truly is well with my soul to embrace a more structured worship into my spirituality practice.
So where is the fear coming from? When I went to healing service I again asked that I would not back out and that I would be surrounded with strength to manage the old fears by affirming the peace that I felt earlier. Are we not our worst enemies at times? As you can see by the picture, I did not back out.
The morning of confirmation I had humbly asked that when the Bishop prayed the confirmation prayer for me that I would have a visceral feeling within my Soul. I wanted this to be a whole body experience! Following the prayer, I returned to my seat and the tears started to flow. I was flooded with feelings of years of pain. I was so overwhelmed with a feeling of connection and love. The release of those tears was…. well…. Divine! Father Joe said it best when he came to give me Peace (it’s a time to greet each other in the Parish) following the confirmation.
“Welcome Home,” he said.
He was right. I have found a home to be myself, to doubt, to ask questions, to struggle, and to grow. I have found a home where my Parish family is open, supportive and they live and move and breathe the walk of Christ. I have found a home in “the Jesus Movement,” as the Rt. Rev. Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple said in her meeting with us that morning. Being fully embraced and loved is a feeling I never thought I would feel in a church. The feeling is so sweet.
Are you looking for a loving community? I know where you can find one! Feel free to reach out…..I will meet you there and welcome you home.