Second Sunday of Advent
I found myself at the 10am Mass in San Francisco Church today. It is well known for its connection with San Pedro, who was known as the “St. Francis of Assisi of the Americas”. The church was packed today and beautifully prepared for Advent. Purple adorns the altar, robes and sacred spaces. As the incense filled the air and the chants of the liturgy began I simply soaked it all in. Although I cannot understand the language, the liturgy is familiar to me and it feels a bit like home.
My best friend in my earliest years of school was Catholic. I was mesmerized by the nuns who taught in the school where I attended kindergarten: St. Paul’s, in my small town in Kentucky. I thought the nuns were the most wonderful of wonders. They were teaching the grades of the elementary school there so I could observe as we all shared space each day. “Muffins” I called them, for a very long time until my mother realized the snafu and let me know they were “Nuns”, NOT “Muffins”! Mom was embarrassed, I was surprised. They seemed like muffins to me and I loved them.
Three years later Kathy walked into my 3rd grade classroom in the public school. Sharing the “W” of our last names, we were placed in the row together where we remained until November of our sophomore year of high school. When they introduced Kathy that morning in 3rd grade, they said she was from St. Paul’s and I immediately said to her, “you know the nuns!” She became my best friend on the spot. Hers was the classical Catholic family and I spent every Friday night in their home that life would allow. In and out of weddings, funerals and services with Kathy, I became comfortable at being an awkward Protestant in the liturgy of Catholic mass. I loved it. And it is probably all of these same reasons that the United Methodist Church seemed perfectly matched for me when I arrived to it many years later. I grew up Southern Baptist and I have encountered Christ in all of these expressions of Christianity.
This morning I missed my church family at home but I welcomed the liturgy as it began:
“El Senor este con usetedes. Y con tu espiritu. Levantemos el corazon. Lo tenemos levantado hacia el Senor. Demos gracias al Senor, nuestro Dios.” Es justo y necesario….” I soaked in the prayers and choirs and rituals we have come to know as we worship across the world. I let the incense surround me. It is the second Sunday of Advent. The celebration of Messiah is coming soon. Wherever we are, however we are, God finds a way to reach deep into our hearts and speak: “prepare the way for the Lord….” Let it be.
This is a link to the church where mass was held today
This is a link about San Pedro