August 05, 2008
The Sanctuary of Sleep & Home
Through my mission experiences, I have discovered that my Tecumseh UMC congregation is more traditional and formal than some others. In Fond du Lac, in order to give the AmeriCorps volunteers their space, we were assigned living quarters in the sanctuary, and mostly confined our down time to that space.
Sleeping in the sanctuary was a bit of a challenge for me. I suppose I’m over-proper at times, but turning the altar into a slumber station made me uncomfortable. I realize there is nothing incredibly sacred about the physical altar/stage; it just gave me an odd feeling. There was also sleeping space in the aisles. Without an air mattress (by choice), I ended up laying out my sleeping bag a little higher up.
Sleeping on a pew turned out to be very comfortable, although it took me a long time to fall asleep that first night. Something about sleeping in church freaked me out. Maybe because falling asleep in church is so highly frowned upon! Eventually, I got used to the sleeping arrangements. Well, truth be known, eventually, I was too tired to care about propriety.
I also had a little trouble with boisterous downtime that was spent in the sanctuary. Again, it's just what I've been used to. Time in church has always been spent in hushed, sombre, reflective tones. There's not much shouting, and not much handclapping or stomping, either. However, the youth being exuberantly joyful changed my opinion on that, too. Open sharing, playful-ness, and laughter all became forms of praise. In a unique way, we worshipped constantly.
I am still amazed at the eventual comfort and spirituality of spending 4 days living in GOD’s house. By making it our house with our presence, it also came to be referred to as our “home."
Posted by jaselin at August 5, 2008 01:15 PM