A Feast for the Soul

Men and women, bearers of the Imago Dei, have five main senses. Senses which are heightened in times of joy and pain, compensate for each other in loss, and allow us to experience the depths and heights of human existence.

A view of a majestic mountain, tranquil beach or dazzling skyline can take our breath away in wonder. A scent wafting on the breeze can transport us to other times and places, bring vivid memories to life and draw our deepest feelings to the surface. The touch of a loved one’s hand can instantly comfort and encourage.  Music has the power to describe and elicit the most powerful of emotions. When we feast at a table spread with earth’s bounty, drinking fine wines in the company of other lovers of God, we experience a depth of community unmatched outside heaven.

A rich life, a life lived vividly, is one that engages our senses as well as our minds, a life that fills our soul with glimpses of the Glory of God and prompts us to wonder and worship.

So why, then, do we confine our practice of our spirituality to a single sense? Why do we neglect the fullness of experience in the one place where we should engage the whole of our bodies, where we should be filling the temple with the praise of our maker?

Last weekend, I had the privilege of making new friends, friends who, for our first meeting, invited me to join them at their little Anglican church for Sunday Eucharist.  As we sang, and listened and reflected, I looked around. I looked at a corrugated steel warehouse transformed into a place set apart for the meditation on the love of God. The vestments, chalices, reverential sounds of liturgy and the taste of the wine and wafer all drew me in to the contemplation of my Saviour.

The beauty and richness of an icon, the lovely rhythm of a chanted psalm or the waft of incense can engage our souls in a way that merely listening to a sermon and singing along to a chorus cannot.

I find myself wondering if, in our desire for clarity in understanding God, in our struggle for our minds to be made new, we haven’t backed ourselves into a sterile corner, a place where words are our primary medium and the remaining senses are seen as redundant?

What if we didn’t see the practice of our faith as something only for our minds to engage with? What if we engaged all our senses in worship? What if we embraced our historical roots, roots in which the Church was the fountain of artistic expression, where the greatest artists and composers found not only inspiration but audience for their works?

Sometimes, simplicity isn’t enough. My souls longs for richness.  In re-embracing a liturgical and sacramental tradition, I am rediscovering the joy of communal worship as a feast for the soul.

Be Restored

re·sur·gent  (r-sûrjnt)  (adj.)

1. Experiencing or tending to bring about renewal or revival.

2. Sweeping or surging back again.

Word Origin and History for resurgent (adj.)

1808, from obsolete verb resurge “to rise again” (1570s), from Latin resurgere “rise again, lift oneself, be restored,”from re- “again (see re- ) + surgere “to rise”.

Why The Resurgent Anglican?

There has always been a part of me that has deeply loved the comforting liturgical flow of the Book of Common Prayer. Sunday Morning Eucharist, even in my darkest times of self-immolation on the altar of post-modernity, has always been a place of sanctuary and rest.

stained glass cup

However, like so many who grew up with those lovely words as the backing track to teenage angst and rebellion, when the Lord finally wooed my heart, I threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Despite the fact that my awakening actually began in an Anglican church, I associated the established church with stifling conformism and dead religion. In my zeal to cast my life with total abandon at the feet of Jesus, I ran from the familiar words and routines to explore new expressions of worship and community.

In the almost 20 years since I last worshipped with consistency in liturgical communion, I have attended Non-Denominational, Pentecostal, Bible, and Baptist churches.  I have seen breadth and depth and beauty in the body of Christ, both at home and abroad.  I have loved and been loved by believers of every flavour, and I count that as riches beyond compare.

So it is with surprise that I find myself returning, in a sense, to my roots. Roots which now are infused with such beauty and meaning that I sometimes wonder how I survived without them.  The depth of communion entered into during a Sunday service takes my breath away. Knowing we walk in the steps of believers through the years, professing truths and affirming our faith in the One who created us, infuses my worship with depth no chorus or rousing sermon ever could.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I hope that, in these pages of observations and questionings, we can converse together about church and faith and Kingdom,  Above all, I hope you will see Jesus reflected in my words and that He will use this to draw us all closer to Him.

Longing for depth and joy.

Ally – AKA The Resurgent Anglican