#49:  Christ Church Anglican

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I was convinced I was being led astray by my GPS.

“Trust me.  There’s no way this Anglican congregation holds its church services in a school playhouse.  They’re way too traditional for something like that.”  I said to Patrick in a somewhat frustrated tone.  “Search again.” 

“Well, Googlemaps begs to differ so I don’t know what to tell ya, love.”

Christ Church Anglican

Christ Church Anglican

I hurried off the phone and approached the building located at 208 N. Providence Road; Bible in hand.

For prayer #49, I was greeted at the door of Christ Anglican Church by a friendly face and kindly handed a bulletin.  “Good morning!” he said with an authentic smile.

It appeared the church made a half-hearted attempt to disguise the children’s decor by covering it with religious paraphernalia.  After looking around the room briefly, I found a seat in the back row and made myself comfortable.  For the first time in 52 weeks, I welcomed such a contemporary-style setting.  It was a nice alternative to the time-honored pews and steeple.  There was something about the whimsical atmosphere that sucked all the ‘could-be’ stuffiness right out of the room.  

We started the worship service with prayer and a few modern-day hymns.  The choir was reasonable good and I liked how Rev. Mark Browne didn’t hesitate to join them in song.

 “This is Anglican?”  I said to myself a bit befuddled.  “How is this possible?  Look at all these folks toting around their Bibles.  This is the lowest “high church” I’ve ever seen!”  There appeared to be a harmonious balance of tradition and evangelicalism that I hadn’t experienced before.

I stopped before showering them with too much of my praise.  I was reminded that I hadn’t even heard the sermon yet.  Rev. Brown then faced the congregation, ready to give his Sunday homily.  “Okay, here it goes.”  I thought.  “He’ll say something in a really sermonic tone and we’ll all just repeat after him.”  I looked around to locate the prayer book.  Surprisingly, my assumptions were flat out wrong.  Instead, he discussed the story in Luke where Jesus commanded Peter to cast his net in the water after not catching any fish for hours.  When he did, Peter was blessed abundantly. I looked over to the people sitting next to me, completely taken aback by the fact that they were following along in their well marked Bibles. 

Rev. Browne urged us to think about the story and prayerfully consider how it might apply to our own lives.  “Are there areas where we may not be trusting fully in God?”  He asked.  “If so, I encourage you to give your whole life to him; your family life, your work life, your friendships… all of it.  It’s not enough that we play church here on Sunday.  We must take Jesus with us when we leave.  We have to let Him live through us in every facet of our lives. You may not realize what God is up to, but I challenge you to trust that His will for your life is better than your own.  I bet Peter may have thought it was ridiculous to cast his net in the water after fishing for several hours without a bite but he trusted Jesus’ command, even if it made little sense to him.  We have to give it all to Him if we are to truly be one of His disciples.  It’s the least we can do after what He’s done for us, right?” 

I was tickled.  Here I was certain I’d spend an hour or so going through the motions of several church traditions, only to get a short surfaced message with little heart and instead, I received a powerful biblical lesson. I’d never been so happy to be wrong in my entire life. 

After the sermon was over he led us in prayer.  “If anyone wants to offer up prayers, please do so as the Holy Spirit moves your hearts” he said.  Well, the Holy Spirit was active and alive that morning because we sat, eyes closed, heads bowed for nearly 20 minutes.  Now, 20 minutes doesn’t sound like a whole lot of time, but when you’re entrenched in group prayer, you can expect to feel some pretty powerful spiritual electricity flowing.  God’s presence filled every nook and cranny of that the room so immeasurably, I swear, I could almost see it. 

We prayed for the international community, we prayed for the sick, we prayed for the poor, we prayed for their church and every other one worshipping that Sunday.  We prayed, and prayed, and prayed.  We thanked Him for the mighty work He’s done and we humbly came before him, requesting that Christ continue to live through us so we can be his heart and hands in this desperate world.

In a nutshell, I got to Christ Anglican thirsty and I left there spiritually quenched.  In my opinion, there’s really nothing more you can ask for on a Sunday morning.

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