Morning Prayer--or not, as the case may be


Feeling spiritually unnourished from not having walked into an actual church yesterday, I realized that today, being a holiday, would be an extraordinary opportunity to try out a 9 AM Morning Prayer service at Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church located on top of Nob Hill. Besides the fact that lots of people had the day off, I figured that, because this was big cathedral, there might be a some number people who would attend. I figured wrong.

The Cathedral is both a church and a tourist destination, and maybe a dozen or so tourists were scattered throughout the inside of the building, looking around and in some cases taking pictures. Morning prayer was conducted off in the far corner. I looked at the program, and it seemed like something I could partake of, except for the recitation of the Apostle's Creed, but that wasn't a problem; I could just decide not to say anything during that part of the service. But when nine o'clock rolled around, no one was sitting in the chairs. Not a single person. The man conducting the service was reading something aloud, but no one was listening. If I had sat down there, not only would I have been the sole participant, I would have served as a spectacle for out-of-town tourists as they walked by. No thanks.

I am rather curious how many people ever actually attend morning prayer services. And if anyone does, who are these people who can make it to a 9AM service on a weekday? Retired people? The unemployed? Whoever they are, they weren't there this morning.


rev katie m ladd said...

Not being a morning person, I certainly don't do morning prayer services. However, I have had a similar experience to yours in attending vespers and evensong at the National Cathedral. While staying at the College of Preachers for a retreat, it was my intention to attend evening services. To my dismay, I discovered that about three people and I were the only people there for worship, although several tourists picke up bulletins and sat for a while. Fortunately the services were in the chapels or in the choir, but I felt more like a participant in a play rather than someone at worship. Sorry to hear about your experience!