Best Church Service Ever
2017-01-27, 8:45 p.m.
Tonight I went to a church service....Yeah, I know. You never know with me, I could be all, “So I went unicorn hunting last night” or who knows what other random thing I'll say or do, but here’s a little hippie going to church without being dragged by Mommy. Who knew? Anyway, a few days ago I saw the listing for this.
”It’s a service aimed at the spiritual but not necessarily religious and invites people into about an hour of music, reflection, and guided meditation that provides inner renewal, spiritual experience, and gentle connection with others. This month’s service is about cultivating hope for healing, new beginnings, and the courage we need to foster the wellbeing of our communities and planet. Delaine Eastin—professor, former city council woman, legislator, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, and 2018 candidate for Governor of California—will be our storyteller for the evening, focusing on hope and empowerment. -Pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman
Given how this week has gone in the world, I felt like this was something I needed to hear. And oh, the service was marvelous. (And ah...kinda pagan-ish for a church service, go figure. I liked.)
The program (of which I grabbed like, four copies after) started out with “Tonight is about cultivating hope, moving out of old captivities and fears, stepping into new beginnings, and finding the courage we need to foster the wellbeing of our communities and planet.” For the record, the T-word was never said tonight, and politics at all was barely mentioned and nothing current in them was at all, but one assumes all of this applies there.
After having us do a little opening saying, the pastor played this video, (text of it is here) which was just fucking marvelous. Seriously, just go watch the thing. You think it’s gonna be like some kind of “Just Do It” Nike ad, but about a minute in he’s all, “and I apologize to the black community, but I can no longer pretend. Martin Luther King? That man never had a dream. That dream had him. See, people don’t choose dreams. Dreams choose them.” And that’s where my mind got blown. I teared up a little.
I came out of that thinking do something...though as usual, the question with me is, what? and how? And I thought, I’m tired of hiding. I am trying to say as little as possible at work and hide in the corner every day so I avoid ticking someone off, and had a conversation with my ex-boss about it and she was all, “That’s not right,” but frankly, everyone else is in a bad enough mood and I don’t want to be the bitch eating crackers who sets them off even worse, so I don’t. It gets old. I don’t want to. I want to show off, dammit...but then there’s the consequences to worry about. Or how the heck I find a stage that wants to have me that I'm not paying to get up on.
They had a moment of silence to set your intention, and then they had Delaine Eastin as the night’s “storyteller.” Apparently she lives here now (I grew up hearing about her because she held office in the county I’m from), attends this church, and is running for governor in 2018. I wish her well on that.
Anyway, I liked her. She talked about growing up with an alcoholic mother “in chaos” and wanting to get the hell out of home. She originally wanted to be a psych major because of her mother, but switched to poli sci, was a teacher for awhile (she talked a lot about students) and eventually became superintendent of schools and toured ALL the schools when doing it. She talked about books she’d read on learned optimism and resilience and what serves kids like her was having a community around, and having optimism. (Not my strong suit.) She also cited “It’s A Wonderful Life” and how angels come in all sorts of packages.
After that we listened to “One Woman’s Prayer” by Mamuse. You can listen to that here or read the lyrics here. Very good points in that one, like “guide me in these times while war is being waged on my family.”
They finished up with having a ritual--you could light a candle for new beginnings, use the water font for cleansing, or get anointed with oil for healing. I did all three. They finished up by playing “Calling All Angels,” the coincidence seemed to amuse the minister.
It was very cool. I wish Meg had been there, she would have loved it.