Today is Good Friday. And I didn’t go to church.
I was planning to go. Honestly. Last night before bed, I checked the church website to make sure I had the correct time for service. This morning when I wrote my to-do list for today, there it was, at the end, like a reliable bookend: Tenebrae. Be at church; honor the hugeness of this day.
But I’m here, at a quiet kitchen table, watching the sun go down outside the window, instead of there.
I’m here because life has been chaotic lately. There have been huge emotional ups and downs, shaky relationships, and moments of sadness and rejection. There have been so many life changes, the thrill of couch surfing, of dwindling bank accounts, of last-minute taxes. There has been so much tutoring as each SAT draws closer, and each student panics more. There has been dog-sitting and event coordinating and job interviewing. Those to-do lists have gotten long and complicated.
And the space for worship has gotten small and cramped.
I stepped out of that coffee shop this evening, and breathed in the cool Bay air, and in that moment I knew — I knew — that I wouldn’t make it to the sanctuary tonight. Or at least, not the official sanctuary. This space — this kitchen table, this gentle sunset, this held moment — is a deeper sanctuary. Closed eyes, attentive breath, and familiar scripture are liturgy enough for true worship. And I remember again that God cannot speak into my life unless my soul is quiet enough to listen and my heart is open enough to truly hear.
Perhaps faithfulness, in the end, comes from having the honesty to say it: I haven’t been paying attention to God. I have relegated religion down to a to-do list item. So on this day, the day to which all authentic confession points, I am turning aside to remember the holy space of my own soul. I am driving the loudmouths from this hall to make room for my one Guest.