Home > Church, Faith, God Project, Uncategorized > Led Zeppelin and The Episcopalian Church

Led Zeppelin and The Episcopalian Church

I’m Deanna. Drew asked me to fill in because he’s sick tried to pawn his writing duties off asked me to be a guest blogger after visiting Christ Church of Cranbrook with him. You can find me at Soul Like a Spider or on Twitter.

After waking up late, almost walking out the door without knowing where I was going, having to stop at a gas station to grab some chocolate milk to keep my empty and noisy stomach from taking part of the festivities, and accidentally trying to go in through the out driveway (zing!), my morning at Christ Church Cranbrook was off to a weird start. (This is the Awesome Project, after all. No post here is complete without some strange and seemingly controversial cultural reference in the title. Zeppelin for the win.)

“I’m probably going to be about 5 mins late.” That turned out to be a lie, it was more like 15.
“Okay. I’m on the right side of the church, about 15 rows from the entrance.”

The campus that the church is located on is peaceful. The driveways are strolling, the parking lots are nicely spaced and are scattered throughout a landscape full of trees, large sections of grass, and old architecture. I mean, I like my megachurches sitting in the middle of a plain, industrial parking lots built for a football stadiums as much as the next


Christ Church Cranbrook in springtime

person, but there is something to be said about the serenity that was immediately present from the environment as I was walking in.

Luckily I walked in while there was singing going on so my awkward search to find Drew wasn’t noticed. I must say, he wasn’t lying when he said the church was beautiful enough to make me want to immediately convert. The sanctuary was thin, not quite as wide as the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal in Quebec, Canada or some of the old European cathedrals in Amsterdam, Netherlands, but it was long. Everything is built of grey stone, and the paintings on the walls are just stunning.

My Baptist background doesn’t easily lend to the rituals and procedures of an Episcopalian church, which was why the bulletin was extremely helpful. It had everything from notations of when to sit/stand/kneel, page numbers, a guide to which book was which, the full scripture passages that were read, the congregation responses, and even a subtext of what to do during communion. This thing was so pretty, it should have been sold in the front as a playbill (all it needed was the bios and pictures of the cast.)

The prayers and creeds that we read aloud were actually kind of wonderful. I’m still not totally familiar with the format, but as I was reading I took the time to actually pay attention to the words that were being used. The Reverend prayed for the homeless, the unemployed, the new Lector that they are still looking for, Israel, Obama, Palestine, the earth and for our will to protect and care for it, our governor, and almost everything else. The prayers were sweet, honoring, respectful, and poetic. They are what I want my prayers to be but never are. Not only did they pray for the popular things (Israel, the unemployed), but they also prayed for the things that need prayer but are less socially acceptable / politically correct for a church to be offers prayers for (Obama, Jennifer Granholm, Palestine).

“Did you hear them pray for Palestine? I was shocked. You could go to the Baptist church down the street and you won’t hear them praying for Palestine.”
“They prayed for Obama, too! Scandalous.”
“And Jenny? I was like… Wow.”

I will admit up right up front that I missed the main point of the sermon because I was busy looking at my surroundings, trying to feel out the message of everything that was going on, and being amused by Drew’s slight fidgeting. But, one of the biggest things that stuck out to me was how personable everything was. This church’s main prerogative was not to shut out those who are strangers, but welcome them in.

One of the scripture passages for the day was Mark 12:38-44, one of the most over-used passages on tithing. The Reverend Lloyd Buss poked fun at the church in saying that whenever giving to the church comes up this passage will be used  to encourage the congregation to not only give, but to give more. And while, like I said, I missed the overarching point of the message, this particular part was about how it’s not all about tithing and it’s not all about giving financially, that living like Jesus involves more than just your checkbook. Later, he mentioned that historically, the only correct way to talk about a Reverend was to say “The Reverend, but now, we have Reverend, The Very Reverend, The Most High Reverend. Reverend Buss continued with “And The Very Correct Reverend, The Mostly Correct Reverend, The Obviously Not Wrong Reverend.” We all chuckled in our wooden pews.

I think a lot of people (at least the Baptists I knew and grew up with) have the idea that the Episcopalian and Catholic veined churches are stingy, ritual based, and leave no room for life, humor, or authenticity. At Christ Church Cranbrook, this simply was not the case. I was comfortable, warm, and knew that this was someplace I could call home. While I can see how it would be easy to go on a Sunday morning to a church like this, read what you’re supposed to read, sing what you’re supposed to sing, repeat what you’re supposed to repeat, and remain disconnected, Cranbrook makes provisions for everyone in the congregation to take part of a heartfelt experience that is both profound and encompassing.

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