This last Sunday Maggie and I had the joy of attending Christ Episcopal Church in Dallas. We had been in Dallas the night before for a wedding, so I took Sunday off from Holy Comforter.
Like good Episcopalians, Maggie and I googled for the closest Episcopal church to our hotel in Dallas. So off we went to Christ Church.
Now, they market themselves as “Christ Episcopal Church, Dallas.” Turns out, it’s really “Christ Episcopal Church, Oak Cliff.” That’s a big difference. Oak Cliff is known for its poverty and violence. Not really the kind of place that you seek out.
But if I lived in Dallas, it would be the kind of church I would attend. First of all, the church was built in 1921 so it’s beautiful (wood floors, good organs, great pews, and fantastic stained glass windows of the life of Jesus).
The sermon was a play put on by the children who had attended the Vacation Bible School (about Moses and the people wandering through the wilderness). I think the coolest thing about this play was how the church responded: everyone pulled out their phones and cameras to take pictures. You know that I am totally for this, and encourage people to take pictures and post stuff to Facebook during services. I was pleased to see this church embrace all of that.
During the peace, the people were incredibly welcoming. People made a point of passing the peace with us, but nobody was too pushy about asking us to join the church, get on the vestry, and start teaching Sunday School (have you ever gone to a church like that?).
The coolest thing, though, was taking communion. Not only is taking communion cool, but a couple of things hit me as I was kneeling at the altar rail. The guy to my right smelled like the streets. The guy to my left had pierced ears, designs shaved into his head, and all sorts of tattoos. And me, in a pressed polo shirt and penny loafers.
As I was eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus, I thought to myself, “These are the kind of people that Jesus hung out with.” Kneeling there was a representation of the whole people of God.
After church I took just a quick walk through the Parish Hall (we were off to meet Maggie’s parents for lunch). And I heard something that was cool. There was a dude from England who had apparently brought a bunch of ice cream for the kids. And it was so cool, so holy, to see this English dude talking to a little Hispanic boy about ice cream in the Parish Hall. I thought to myself, “In Christ there is no east or west.”
This was the blessing I received at Christ Church: the reminder that it doesn’t matter where I come from, what I wear, and even how good I smell. It matters that we all kneel at the same table and follow the same Lord.
Christ Episcopal Church wasn’t the biggest church I’ve ever been in, and it wasn’t the smallest. But you know what? Jesus was there, and that’s what counts.
I ask you to pray for Christ Church. They are in the process of searching for a new rector (perish the thought, I love it here at Holy Comforter). Pray for the people of Christ Church, that they may see the Christ that was so apparent to me.