Last night, I had a remarkable experience of church.
Dan sent a google calendar invitation to a storytelling event at Shamrock’s bar that included music by John Hermanson. Shamrock’s is owned by my junior year prom date. I love storytelling and John Hermanson and beer. Plus we were meeting two amazing friends. Monday night date! I was a bit taken aback, then, when I realized the night was hosted by Humble Walk Church. They host Theology Pub and Beer & Hymn nights. The first person I interacted with was a server asking if she could get me a beer. I could get used to this.
It took one note coming out of John Hermonson’s throat to melt me into a puddle. His voice, we decided, is like John Denver’s– crisp and clear like a mountain river. Perfectly raw and controlled. Surprisingly vulnerable. So so beautiful. His voice has the power to bring me back over time and space to exceedingly happy memories of life in Denver, memories of Storyhill concerts, of my wedding, of road trips and quiet nights. To me he is better than John Denver because his music, his voice, has accompanied me in this life. While he covered a gorgeous song by Danny Schmidt, the two women in front of me reached for each other’s hand. It felt like home.
I saw friends from seminary I hadn’t seen in years. Friends who believe in working on Sundays and call themselves sinners and experiment with how to ask big questions. It felt like I belonged.
The theme was When the Sinners/Saints go marching in. I cried during all four stories. They were funny and sad and got at the stuff of life. They talked about death and aging and addiction and love. We nodded along with them. We’re all just hobbling along together in this life. This one messy, crazy fast life. As pastor Jodi Hogue wrote on their blog: