So in church… or in Christian-influenced, Westernized church… we do only a handful of things. We pray or meditate silently together. We sing. We listen to a preacher. We stand, we sit, we might dance. We read things with dozens or hundreds of other people. We enjoy the choir and the instruments. And somewhere, one of those things, on some of the days that you attend church, is suddenly transcendent.
Something the preacher says might move you, shake you to your core. One of the melodies might suddenly prick the corners of your eyes with tears. One of the bells during meditation brings to mind someone you've not thought of in a long time. One of the moments, on the days you're lucky or maybe when you're just psychically ready for a little churchin', your heart will open to a flash of compassion, a surge of oneness, an experience of pure love.
Well, you certainly don't have to go to church to experience these moments… though I find such moments are guaranteed to occur only when there is some music, or deep silence, a resonant reading or powerful words spoken… when there is some dancing, some hand holding, some communion in any form.
So this past weekend, while I was at a Michelle Shocked concert with N, I giggled on the inside a couple times and my eyes got a little teary a couple times and I paid strong attention to the power of our group breathing, laughing, chanting, singing and swaying together. It was absolutely a night of going to church, and so to the church of Ms. Shocked and her messages of social justice, independence, feminism, individualism AND community, love and faith… I say amen. Thanks for the churchin'.