I stand at the counter, staring down into my steeping tea, lost in thought.
I regret my earlier impatience and misdirected anger. I love these kids so much and all the weakness is in me, my own to bear. And yet I am so like them, losing my temper because I'm hungry, being unreasonable because I'm tired, only I am the grown-up here, the one who should know better. Mother-guilt; I wonder if it ever really goes away.
As I watch the tea leaves swirling around, the familiar words start running through my mind, my heart. Most Merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone... My heart and mind together finish* the well-worn prayer of confession. I linger for a minute longer, then remove the tea leaves and draw myself out of my thoughts and back into the steady demands of motherhood.
My tea is cold by the time I finish it.
Today I miss liturgical worship more than usual. There's always a part of me that misses it, but my Book of Common Prayer - a gift from the husband who knows me so well and yet in other ways wonders if he'll ever truly know me, this confusing and ever-changing person he married - is always close at hand. I read the familiar words aloud, often, hoping to write them on my children's hearts just as the familiar prayers and words of Scripture were written on my own through the years.
But it's not the same. I miss the rumbling of an entire congregation petitioning God aloud as one. I miss the depth, the richness, and the beauty of liturgical worship. I miss the hymns led by the robed choir. I miss kneeling at the alter, bowing my head as I receive the blessed sacrament of Holy Communion. I miss the reverence. I miss stepping into God's story alongside others as we follow together the Church calendar - Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time - together telling the entirety of our redemption in Christ, no part left out, over and over this individual and corporate pilgrimage.
Now I walk alongside others virtually, thanks to this double-edged sword that is the Internet, but here I am faced too with the relentless criticism of those who choose not to observe the church calendar; can't we all just let each other worship and learn and walk and grow in our own way? Must our journeys all be so identical; is God so limited? It hurts but I press on, drawing eyes off self and back to God as I walk and re-walk this Gospel road.
I miss the Anglican church. Our church now, small but home-like, is beautifully sincere and passionately community-minded. It is what we wanted, what we searched for. But oh, how I miss what will always feel like my true church home. How I long for the richness and depth of corporate liturgical worship.
How beautiful that day will be when Christ's Church is once again united and whole. One day every knee shall bow before God, together praising Him with one voice. For now, I seek my place amidst the brokenness as I worship Him in faith through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
But today, I'm just missing home.
* ...I have not loved You with my whole heart. I have not loved my neighbours as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me, that I may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.