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In honor of my 100th post, I joined Blog Oklahoma late yesterday evening. 

Before joining, I traveled through all seventy-one pages of blog descriptions of other members.  A dozen enticed me to pay a visit; three ended up on my blogroll. So I thought, “Why not”.  “I’ll come out and play.”  But other than this, I’m not sure what will come of my membership.

Memberships are funny animals.  In joining a club or society or whatever, we satisfy this inate desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves.  I belong to the AICPA and the OSCPA, though my life as a certified public accountant rests on an unlit back burner.  Yet I hate to drop this long-term affiliation, even though I’ve no dreams to ever practice again.  I confess:  I enjoy being on my husband’s payroll.

More recently, I joined the Oklahoma Country Master Gardeners.  Now this membership requires me to do something other than to breathe and pay money once a year.  Twice a month I go sit behind the county extension help desk, what I have affectionately renamed the ‘hope desk’, as my callers are always looking for a ray of hope.  When the phones grow silent, I visit with two other on-duty gardeners.  And when my phone rings, I listen to the caller’s latest malady, as I play a bit of plant detective to uncover the mystery of why this or that is not performing as expected.

We do have our pesky expectations, don’t we?  Expectations have sent me to question my local church membership.  The last three Sunday mornings I have played musical pews, to see if  I can find a better fit than where I currently ‘belong’.  So far, no dice.  Each church has its own personality, it’s own way of conducting the business of church, and I’m starting to wonder if I’m looking for that mythical mystical unicorn.  

I’m looking for a church that conducts less business and more church, at least during the worship hour. My biggest gripe about church is not the passing of the plate, or even the dreaded passing of the peace–a nightmare for introverts like me, and even some extroverts like my friend Laure who always dabs on a bit of hand sanitizer afterwards, just in case she got a little more than bargained for–but rather it’s the spirit-grating advertisements that come in the midst of the worship service.  We’ve prayed, sang a few hymns and then, low and behold, here come a few ‘announcements’ or two.  Ecclesliastes 3 teaches us there is a time for everything under the sun; in my book, commercials, even if related to the business of the church, should not reside anywhere near  a worship service.   To them, I say:  Be gone.  Find your own time and space.

Ironically, for this writer-wannabe, the perfect church service would be practically wordless — certainly no sermon or commericals.  Just music, a few chants, the barest of homilies.  I had hoped to find this animal alive at the montly Taize service at St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday evening.  But what I remembered at 3 pm was gone by 5pm.  So it will be September before I can satisfy my curiousity.  And I hope,  this unmet desire to join with something bigger than myself.    

But make no mistake.  If Taize meets my dreams of church, I’ve no plans to join St. Paul’s.  And I hope the real members of St. Paul’s don’t mind.  But if they pass the plate, I’ll pay.  And if they pass the peace, I’ll play and even keep my hand sanitizer at home.  But mostly, I just want to pray, surrounded by a few others who mostly want to pray.

Come Holy Spirit.  Come out, come out, wherever you are.  To you and you and you, Trinity of One, do I truly wish to belong.