• Last modified 857 days ago (May 24, 2018)


Another Day in the Country

A spiritual experience

© Another Day in the Country

It’s been rather a long time since I went to church on Saturday, as was my custom for more than half of my life; but it happened this week, in a most unexpected way.

“Did you remember to set the timer on the television to record the wedding?” my sister asked as we headed of town to an appointment. I assured her that I had.

“The wedding” was, of course, the fairytale, modern day version of the story of Cinderella: a common girl, discriminated against by stepparents and society, visited by a fairy godmother, who finds herself at a ball meeting a handsome prince, etc.

We’ve all been raised on this tale and we love it. We hunt for and hope for this kind of romantic improbability to happen in our own lives. And here it was actually happening, thousands of miles away, beginning at 3 o’clock on a Saturday morning. We didn’t want to miss it.

Most Americans, I think, rather disdain the idea of royalty, all the pomp and pageantry of having a king or queen as ruler of a country. After all, we liberated ourselves from that kind of control more than 200 years ago.

However, we have our own version of “royalty” in America. We support them to the tune of millions and millions of dollars, paying exorbitant sums of money, probably more for one appearance than we would earn in a lifetime.

We don’t call them “Your Royal Highness.” We know them as movie stars.

The fairy godmother known as Hollywood has for years waved her magic wand over pretty little girls and charming young men, transporting them into our hearts. Actors plying their skills on the silver screen entertain us with stories of other lives that thrill our hearts, fill our minds, scare us to death, give us hope, make us laugh, or leave us crying. For 90 minutes or so we are in other worlds, forgetting our own rather ordinary days.

We love movies and the easy access to other worlds. We have them endlessly available 24 hours a day right in our own homes.

Sometimes we prefer watching someone else’s dilemmas rather than facing our own.

Recording an event ahead of time, I can fast forward through parts that I find redundant, and skip all the advertisements. So, I was looking forward to sitting down later Saturday to see for myself the wedding of the lovely young American Cinderella, and the Prince from England, six steps away from the throne.

For those of you who tuned in, you know that coverage on our local TV channels was six hours long!

The faces of our American royals finding their seats were the first thing that stopped my finger from pushing the fast forward button. This was different than the last royal wedding. Instead of all the heads of state and officials of the kingdom, these were faces I recognized. It was refreshing to see men in suits, and the variety of women’s hats was enough to keep me entertained.

When the service began, something unusual happened as I heard music soaring through this majestic church. I was transported, uplifted by the thoughtful, unexpected tone, a delightful mixture of tradition and soulfulness.

I was blessed. There’s no other word for it.

As the minister actually preached I was reminded of the importance of love, not just the fairytale kind of romance, but life changing, world-transforming, enduring love. For a few moments my skepticism was shushed.

While the choir sang “Stand By Me,” I recalled all the loyalty I’ve experienced in my life and how grateful I am for the people who’ve stood by me. While a young man played his cello with such grace, I remembered my own music-loving grandson and I prayed for his future.

While the wedding couple said “This vow I do make,” I remembered vows I’d made and how difficult they were to keep, and I wished them well.

As they walked out of the chapel, I walked out of my own front door, refreshed.

“Now that was church!” I said, to no one in particular.

We found ourselves talking about this service long after it was over.

“Oh, the music,” my sister said, “It was just wonderful!”

We agreed that this was what church should be like every week, something inspiring, something memorable, something to give hope, something to talk about, on another day in the country.

Last modified May 24, 2018