Holy Spontaneity

I am no longer a church-goer. Nothing against it, it's just that pancakes give me a more religious experience than bowing my head on a hard bench. However, last Sunday was Easter, and if you're going to go to church once, it might as well be the day that a human being allegedly rose from the dead. If that really happened, it would be THE thing worth celebrating. 

Step one was picking a spot. But I live in Memphis, where churches are like Dunkin Donuts' in New England–there is one on almost every cross street. They range in size from a tiny sixteenth century schoolhouse to roughly the square footage I imagine Delaware to be. The plethora is paralyzing. 

I resorted to a shallow decision-making process, choosing a church based on its outer appearance. The Idlewid Presbyterian church on Union was undeniably gorgeous. The gothic stone architecture gave it a familiar European allure so that even if the ceremony didn't capture my attention, the peaks, arches and flying buttresses surely would. #culture.

Sunday, 11:00a.m. arrived, I entered through the doors, heavy with the significance of ideology, and I was honestly blown away. 

This chapel was the closest thing I had seen to Notre Dame in the United States. Stained glass lined the Main hall, an intricately carved mahogany organ rose along both sides of the altar, which housed the rounded voices of a prolific choir. The pews were, of course, overflowing, but every face was kind and willingly gestured for me to join them.  The scent of white lilies and copious spring perfumes filled the chamber. And the ceremony began. 

I stumbled through the hymns, recalled the lord's prayer from childhood bedtimes, and broke bread with pious people. The Pastor dubbed the book of Mark "the Ikea of scriptures"–just the bare bones without much else to go on. He was quick to point out that we would not have Easter without women–the only people brave enough to talk about the guy who came back to life after a full week. #feminisimfaith  This place was sure up on the times.

No matter how ambivalent I am about religion, I see the beauty in the art of it all. In the voices that echo off stone walls, in the notes of brass trumpets singing halleluiah, and in the smiles of those who wish to be kind to one another. That was worth the visit, if nothing else. 

Kiersten UteggComment