Spring is about to officially end, and summer will officially begin on June 21, though in Memphis we really cannot tell the difference. Here on the banks of the Mississippi we seem to have only two seasons: humid and not humid.
In the Church we have seasons that we follow as well, called the Christian year or liturgical year, with its three-year lectionary readings cycle. I have always thought that the hallmark of the liturgical year is how we relive the life of Christ and the lives of the saints within our own lives.
Obviously, the praise and worship of God does not require such organization (thank you, Protestant Reformation), but there is a richness and rhythm to our lives when we follow the Christian year.
True confession: Lent and especially Holy Week always seem the longest to me, but I keep telling myself, “If Jesus endured this, then so can you.” Indeed, I am always grateful for Holy Week, as it forces me to focus my attention on Jesus’ passion, thus making the Easter resurrection celebration even more glorious each time.
Here at Church of the Holy Communion, we use the phrase “for a season” frequently, no more so during the past months of construction and renovations. Yes, we have been perhaps slightly inconvenienced in various ways, but only for a season. And we see little bits of the Resurrection each time one project ends and is finished.
For a season, the parish offices were relocated across the street in the grand old brick home known as Moss Hall. For the first time in my life, I worked in a cubicle, which turned out to be one of the most efficient places I have ever worked. We have now returned to the new parish offices suite in the Greenwood Building, which is the most beautiful office in which I have ever worked.
For a season, our choirs have had no Choir Room. Our adult choirs were relocated to the balcony for both rehearsals and worship services, and the narthex restrooms became our vesting rooms. Our children’s choirs rehearsed in the Children’s Chapel, and our handbell equipment was wedged into a small hallway closet. But as we speak, the new Music Suite is being finished out and will include specific rehearsal and storage spaces for everything in the music ministry.
For a season, we are now preparing to move all worship services to Cheney Parish Hall, as the nave has a renovation and mechanical fluff-up. When all is done, we will have a beautiful new worship space with mechanical equipment, all of which may be serviced using only a six-foot ladder. (The nave attic contains an HVAC unit that is barely hanging on and is accessible only via the organ chamber and steeple interior wall ladder.) Lighting, acoustics, sound, and accessibility will be drastically improved.
But for a season, our liturgies will take place in the parish hall, and many have questioned how that will work. Indeed, from our Sunday morning air conditioning outage a few years ago, we know quite well how it will work. Cheney Parish Hall is a beautiful room and look magnificent when set up as a worship space.
The altar will be placed on a platform and centered in front of the grand palladium window. The choir will be placed behind it, in the two-story part of the parish hall, which is so grand for musical sound. Rather than recorded music or a digital organ, we will use all acoustic instruments for music, with musicians using their God-given talents to play them.
Many have asked, “But what about Christmas?” Our Christmas Eve liturgies will have beautiful music, much of which I have already planned. And just think how beautiful the parish hall will be at night with candlelight in front of that huge window!
And for a season, we will continue with the displaced parking lots, moving around construction projects, and relocated sporting events. But the season will come when the gym will be finished, the front lawn will return to its green beauty, and the nave will shine again as the beacon atop the hill at Walnut Grove at Perkins, where it has stood as a witness to all of East Memphis since 1950.
So, come and be a part of the seasons at Church of the Holy Communion.