I went to church this morning.
Not from any religious conviction, but because I spent the last week in the hospital (that story to come) and my sister said to me yesterday that, after a week of being surrounded by doctors and nurses, I must be lonely at home by myself. And where can one go and be surrounded by people on a Sunday? A church.
I went to the United Church of Christ in Dallastown, St. Paul’s. I’d come to a Christmas service here a few years ago. The church had been pilloried by a local politician and made the national news when they put out a sign wishing local Muslims a blessed Ramadan. I wrote them a letter of support and said that, even though I’m an atheist, I would attend a service there soon. “Soon” became six months, and I went to a Christmas Eve service. That service was nice, and the sanctuary’s rounded arches reminded me of a Hobbit hole.
Walking to the church — it’s about a mile from my apartment — was harder than I anticipated. My heart and lungs seemed fine, and I expected to be sweaty; my legs, on the other hand, fucking hated me. This is a walk that, despite climbing two hills, I made without discomfort a week ago. I know I spent several days in the intensive care unit, but that shouldn’t have made me this weak.
Today was World Communion Sunday. I did not partake, even though the United Church of Christ has an open table, as I didn’t feel that was appropriate. The sermon was on something from I John chapter 5, but I can’t quite recall what even though I felt I was paying attention. I could barely read the bulletin, and I couldn’t read the hymnal at all. I was unfamiliar with all the hymns. It was a nice service, especially for a dreary Sunday morning.
Walking home, Dallastown’s Egyptian Coptic Church was having a gyro and kebob fundraiser.
The Copts rent the old church building from Dallastown’s Methodist Church, which once spanned two buildings until they consolidated with an expansion to their main building two yers ago. The Copts have been in Dallastown for about a year and a half. The Copts are one of Christianity’s most ancient branches (perhaps the most ancient as they claim to be founded by St. Mark) and are also one of the most persecuted in modern times.
I got in line and bought a gyro and an Egyptian dessert of some kind, and with genuine excitement and a beaming smile I welcomed everyone I talked to to Dallastown. The gyro made a great lunch, and I saved the dessert for after dinner.
After church and lunch, I picked up one of my prescriptions at the local CVS.
It was nice to be out and about, even with the dreary sky and drippy rain.