This evening, Ray and I attended the Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, Hollywood. It was the first time we have physically been back in church in two years. I have attended “church” every Sunday online, but because LA has been such a Covid hotspot, it’s only now that we’ve felt that it was safe enough to return. Our primary concern over the past few months has been not to expose our unvaccinated youngest granddaughter to Covid, but she is now vaccinated, along with her siblings.
What a joy it was to see old friends again. Many of these people have been a part of our lives since we became actively involved at St. Thomas the Apostle over twenty years ago. We weren’t the only ones who returned for the first time tonight. One person said it was like being at a family reunion; another referred to it as “Old Home Week.” Yes, it very much felt that way.
I have also missed being in the church building itself over these two years. I have been on a rare occasion to the church office or to our priest’s house next door, but I have not entered the church in two years. The interior of St. Thomas the Apostle feels like a holy place. The architecture is Gothic Revival with a beautiful vaulted and beamed ceiling and lovely stained glass windows. Light, shadows, and the lingering scent of incense hint at mysteries, other-worldliness, and grace.
I felt so happy to be back, surrounded by friends, and listening to music that reminded me of the deep connection I feel to the spiritual realm.
I am happy to be returning just as Lent begins. I look forward to forty days of contemplation before our Easter celebration.
Who could have ever expected that we would be away for two solid years?
Still, our return was filled with kindness and connection. A blessing indeed.