March 21, 2017
The first Sunday in Lent I decided to come to church at 9 am with no real expectation or thoughts of what it would be like. I was immediately struck by the way Hildebrand was arranged – the simple cross made of birch branches set on a low platform with stations, pillows to kneel on, candles in sand boxes and chairs placed at the corners. For me, this service was unexpectedly moving and so different from our tradition. It was what I found that I most craved during this season of Lent.
The service is utterly simple. Contemplative, little talking, chanting with lyrics and music that reverberated in my head through the day. I felt very much in community. In the corners of the platform chairs are available where one can come if they would like the support of others. People from the congregation can come forward and put a hand on that person. In watching others come forward, and in coming forward myself, I realized how we all suffer AND how much support there is. One can also kneel quietly alone and light a candle while listening to music. I experienced God as very near on the two Sundays I attended that service.
In these days when there are few moments without the air waves being filled with news and talk, and planning and organizing, it feels incredibly soothing and restorative to be in silence; to be sad silently, to receive support silently and to be grateful silently.
I commend Jamie and Kyna for planning and executing this risky and innovative Lenten series. If you haven’t gone, I recommend that you experience it. —Betsy Hale