These days no one shies away from using words like ‘crisis’ and ‘epidemic’ when discussing our national problem with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Tragically, nearly everyone in some way is affected by this crisis, be it due to the suffering of a family member, a friend, a co-worker or oneself. The resulting impact upon our society is great and terrifying. But, as they say in 12-step recovery programs, there is a solution to this crisis and that one is God.
Communities of faith are particularly well positioned to play a pivotal role in combating this national epidemic, because a belief that ‘God is the solution’ is fundamental to our very being. Historically, here at Christ Church, like many houses of worship, we have played an important role in helping people recover from addiction by welcoming 12-step recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous into our building for their weekly meetings. Currently, our spaces are used by five different recovery groups every week: Alcoholics Anonymous (2 meetings), Narcotics Anonymous, and Cocaine Anonymous, and Nar-anon.
Lately, we have added to our commitment to the recovery community by including those who suffer from addiction and the family and friends who care for them in the Prayers of the People that we say at our weekend services. But we feel that God is calling us to play a more active role in the recovery process by offering ourselves as a spiritual resource. Accordingly, we have decided to take a further step in our commitment to battling addiction by offering a weekly worship service that speaks directly to this crisis.
Beginning on Saturday, September 7, our evening service will be revamped to include healing and recovery as part of our Eucharistic celebration. In many ways it will resemble our usual services, but the music will be lean more toward the contemporary, there will be an opportunity to receive healing prayer and anointing, and perhaps most notably the 12 steps of recovery will be integrated into the Episcopal liturgy.
Now, given that our traditional liturgy is complete, you may well ask why these steps are even necessary in a weekly service of the Holy Eucharist. The answer is simple; because regardless of whether we are in recovery ourselves, these steps reflect our response as people of faith to a broken world in which we in turn find ourselves broken. So they apply to all of us.
Our faith tells us that there is a solution to our brokenness and that solution is God. Our challenge as people of faith is to admit to this brokenness and acknowledge that solely by our own will power, without God and without community, we cannot achieve wholeness, happiness and grace.
These steps proclaim what we all need to hear and know: that we are all addicted to the brokenness of this world – some through alcohol, drugs or gambling, some through self-centeredness, self-reliance, consumerism, wealth, avarice or any of the myriad ills of our society that lead us away from God. Humbly admitting our powerlessness over these forces is the first step toward turning in a Godward direction.
Please understand that this service is not just for people in recovery or those directly affected by addiction in some way, it is a weekly Eucharist in the Episcopal tradition and therefore seeks to enrich all who attend; but in intentionally including the recovery community, it seeks to serve people who may have been under-served in weekly corporate worship. Is there someone you know of who could benefit from this type of experience? If so, invite them - all are welcome!