This Easter weekend, Diane and I had two very different worship experiences within 12 hours or so of each other. On Saturday night we attended an Episcopal service called “The Easter Vigil.” Our host graciously got us ready for the liturgy and what to expect, and the service was amazing. Not in a “I got goose-bumps and felt the presence of Jesus in my heart" amazing. But rather, I felt that I loved the Lord with my mind and with an appreciation of tradition observed by Christians since at least the third century. In a gloomy, dim sanctuary, we heard the story of salvation told through the Old Testament scriptures, moving from Genesis to Isaiah and having the Psalms interspersed as our guide along the way. After an infant baptism ceremony, the lights came up and we celebrated the new life that we have in Christ by taking communion and even being sprinkled with baptismal water by the priest as a reminder of our own baptism. The Word of God was powerful, as were the rich creeds that we listened to and spoke.
On Easter we attended my mom’s church, a non-denominational community church that was buzzing with excitement. A full praise band led us in musical worship, and the pastor taught us about having passion in our lives, and used power point to illustrate his sermon. Loving the Lord with all of you heart was certainly lifted up and experienced.
And I thought, I'd love to have both in worship. I'd love to have the liturgy of the Episcopal tradition as well as the more emotional connection that I appreciate in the evangelical tradition. Not to say that either is void of emotion or tradition, but certainly each is stronger in areas than the other. Diane and I just really were blessed by each experience of worship and met God in different ways at each one.