I am in the minority at my church. I sit on the left side of the main aisle at the 8 o’clock service, while most of that tiny congregation chooses the right hand side. We sit facing each other at a slight angle, with the altar at the end of the big aisle which separates us. It’s a little odd being in the minority. Sometimes, I’m a minority of one!
I tried the right side once, but it didn’t work. I prefer the view from the left. I see the cross, hung behind and to the right of the altar, at less of an angle. I can see the picture of our female bishop hanging on the opposite wall. I can see the tapestry of John the Baptist given to us by a neighboring Catholic church, high on that same wall. In contrast, the view from the right is either the coffee hour cafe and the kitchen beyond, or a boring partition wall.
There are good reasons for the seating arrangement, where things are hanging, and the partition wall. The space is really our parish hall. It’s only a temporary worship space, until we can afford to build the sanctuary. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not an ugly place. It has great light from the clerestory, beautiful tall wooden doors and walls, and a lofty ceiling. The altar linens are beautiful, and the altar guild makes gorgeous flower arrangements. It’s just not your traditional pews-face-the-front, cross-behind-the-altar kind of space.
I don’t particularly like being in the minority, on the left side of the church. But it’s the position I’ve found works best. From that side, I can contemplate a symbol of my God, a symbol of the vibrancy and tradition of our Episcopal denomination, and a symbol of the heritage and unity of Christian community. I’ve made peace with my place in the new space, and this week, I realized it has been a parable of its own.
Everything in life is in a state of transition. Everything in life isn’t how it ought to be. Everything in life isn’t the way it used to be. But if you look around, you’ll find beauty everywhere. With a little more effort, you can keep your eyes on the important stuff, and your back to the mundane. You can find Your Place in life, and be at peace there, even when you are a minority of one.
I really liked this, Susan. Meant to tell you the other day when I read it the first time….but thanks for your insights!