I have heard the avid hunter say that he or she finds God in the woods. I have heard the avid golfer say that he or she feels the peace of God on the back nine. I have heard the avid fisherman say that he or she feels divine transcendence bass fishing on the lake. In other words, who needs church when theologically speaking, God is and can be found everywhere.
On Ash Wednesday, we are all invited “…in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent (BCP 265).” To help in the observance of a holy Lent and to mark this season, there are changes in our personal lives. We give something up such as sweets, sodas, candy, or something else we enjoy. We may take on a discipline such as reading a book, exercising, or engaging in a variety of forms of prayer. All of this we offer to God and to remind ourselves that God desires to be in relationship with all of us.
Some of you know this story, and many of you do not. I’ll tell a very abbreviated version of it now. When I retired from state service in Oxford in June, 2014, I got on a plane some five days later with two checked bags and two carry-ons and flew 4,257 miles away to become a special education teacher for the 2014-15 school year in Lihue on the island of Kaua’i, Hawai’i.
Last weekend, in honor of Ellen’s birthday, we attended the Billy Joel concert in New Orleans. He put on a great show, he played all the hits, and his joy was palpable. But what I will remember most about the concert was not Mr. Joel himself, but the other musicians who played with him. Between “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “River of Dreams,” and “Only the Good Die Young,” he and his band played a lot of covers (songs written or made famous by other artists).
Evensong is the highest of Anglican traditions, replete with chanting, and will incorporate the fullest extent of our choir which has been practicing for the occasion for some weeks now. If you have not been to a service of Evensong, do yourself a favor and make plans to attend this Sunday. If you thought the Super Bowl last Sunday was exciting, wait until you experience a service of Evensong this Sunday.