I had a wonderful time visiting Christ Church (Episcopal) in Eagle Lake on this past Sunday, January 22. I drove up from Houston for the 10:00 Eucharist. The Rt. Rev’d C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, was there for a Confirmation (4! young adults, roughly the same age as I was when I became an Episcopalian), and two Baptisms. Quite a great day for a small church. I know that when I say it that way, I sound like someone bragging about I nice stringer of white bass he pulled out of the lake some Sunday, but that’s as may be. Quite a great day for a small church!
Maybe it’s the Baptist soil still clinging to (and feeding) my roots after 35 years, but such a day, a Baptism and all that it means, no, THE Baptism of Mazie, and that of Max, (and of my friend PJ at FBC Pasadena last weekend!) is the point to which all cosmic history had been aiming since the creation of all things. And the same in the confession and confirmation of Emma, and of Vickie, of Janet, and that of Turner. In my limited understanding, this reconciliation of each single individual with God, for all time, is itself the purpose for which all was created – “that we may glorify God, and enjoy Him forever!” Like the Eucharist, we (even at our best) attend such things with far too limited a sense of awe and wonder. When we see it as it is, it is a tears-streaming-down-the-face for pure joy celebration. And in time, the “present memory” of it will always be so, in our rejoicing before the throne. It was a blessing to be there!
The Church (Definitely meaning “the people of Christ Church”) provided a luncheon such as only a small-town or country church can do, full of home-cooking favorites and just plain goodness.
I spent a wonderful afternoon with my long-time Bible teacher, Rusty Rutherford (something over ten years now, I think?), returning to Church at 4 o’clock in the afternoon to join his class discussing “the Gospel According to John.” Now, I have probably learned –no, let me say encountered, – or even better, “read learned marked and inwardly digested” more of the Bible as a participant in Rusty’s classes than any other single source along my road, but this Sunday was special.
Special how? Glad you asked. Do you remember the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel? Jacob said “I will NOT let you go, until you bless me!” And he was blessed, and his name changed to Israel (name changes were important!) Well, in this study group, it was obvious that we had a true descendent of Israel, who would NOT let go of this messenger of God, the scripture before us, until God had blessed her. She was determined to understand what God had to say, She exploded with confidence that such an encounter would change her life, her very nature, forever, as it did Jacob. I believe her! She, the group, and the Church were a delight and a blessing!
Christ Church is a beautiful little church, pastored by the Rev. Ralph Morgan; he and his wife Terry were part of our study group. The service expressed much that is good and wholesome and Holy in honest Anglican worship. As I was preparing for my visit, I was a bit saddened to not find any photographs of the Church. After seeing it, I am more surprised than saddened, particularly the interior. I was able to take one not so grand photo of the exterior, but none of the inside. Perhaps someone will fill this void.
Or better yet, go see for yourself.
It will be a day well spent