A couple weekends ago I joined my friend Meredith and her family for an Easter Sunday service. Besides weddings and funerals, I haven't really been to church voluntarily since I left home for college quite a few years ago. So basically, I just sorta felt like going for some reason, like it would make the day more memorable.
Her church was where I was a member of The Sunshine Choir in 7th and 8th grade, so familiar to me but not "my" church. For a while now, I've had the idea to visit a bunch of churches occasionally and see if one fit. But since I am not really religious at all, and all the speaking and singing in unison basically just makes me feel uncomfortable, I never quite get around to venturing out on Sunday mornings.
Anyway, there I was, enjoying the singing (the choir was remarkable) and flowers quite a bit, standing up when I was supposed to, but not really participating. The woman next to me tried to share her hymnal with me twice. After the second time, I thought to myself, "I'm participating by listening", which I decided was a nice way to look at my experience.
Then I had another idea. I grabbed the mini moleskin out of my bag and began to sketch what I could see. I realized what I also like about being in church, besides the music, is the architecture. I love the soaring ceilings, the stained glass, and the beams. I like the wood pews. Now I thought to myself, I am participating by listening AND looking. I felt present and a little meditative.
So a couple of weeks go by and I think about going to another service, with the intention to meditate, sketch, and investigate different buildings, choirs, services and see if I pick up on or am struck by any of the messages.
So here's the result from my First Sunday, 'Confirmation Sunday', at a different Congregational church. I am obviously very out of practice with this style of drawing, and I definitely could use something more stable than my knee to rest the book on, but I enjoyed this exercise. Plus, it got me up and out of bed early on a Sunday morning!