We get to do things in retirement that are not normal for us. For instance, we can take weekends off and go somewhere, or, even more exotic, we can go somewhere on major holidays such as Christmas. Last year we were in suburban NYC with Christmas Eve at Christ Church in Pelham. This year we arre in Seattle with Christmas Eve at St Andrew’s. It takes a little getting used to. There is a lingering sense that perhaps you have abandoned those in need (of you) to indulge yourself in the frivolity of visiting family and enjoying fellowship without the obligation to plan and conduct services.
At the same time, there is the pleasure of being able to worship without caring whether the furnace is working, the lights are on, the acolytes will show up, the candles are lit or your Christmas Eve sermon just the thing to enlighten all those occasional people sitting in the pews. There is something healthy about experiencing worship in a strange setting as a stranger. It refreshes the way I experience my own worship community when we come home because my understanding of it has been educated by new experiences, new people and new ways of doing things.