Sunday, April 13, 2008

Visiting A Church

Since we were on vacation for a Sunday, we got to do something unusual in our lives - go to church as a family. Normally Sunday morning means rushing around, making sure that everything is ready, making sure Sierra is fed and ready to go to Sunday School, having a sermon prepared, etc. But four times a year we get to find a church and just worship together. What a blessing that is.

So last night we went through the yellow pages, and found out that the only ELCA church in the area was nearly an hour away from where we were staying, so we decided to try something else. We went to a Methodist church only 25 minutes from our place. The service we went to was at 9:45 (don't worry, there is no sleeping in with a 3 year old, so we were up at 6:25:). The 9:45 service was their contemporary service, and we thought that would be fun.

We got there early, so that we could find our way and check the church out a little in advance. One thing I noticed is a number of people said hello, but few helped us find our way around. We did finally make it to the sanctuary, found a "busy bag" for Sierra, and settled in. As soon as the music started, Sierra grabbed her ears and cried - its too loud. For the majority of the service we had to hold her and try to sing.

The sermon was very good, most of the music was new to me, but fairly easy to sing, but one thing was missing - communion. The Methodist church doesn't celebrate communion as often as we do - only a few times a year, I believe, and I really missed that part of the service. It is amazing how powerful communion is and how much I miss it when I don't get to partake of that holy meal.

It is always good to visit other churches, other denominations, and worship with them and learn from them. The body of Christ is so much bigger than a single congregation or even a denomination. It all goes back to how we are all wired so differently, and God uses us in different ways to reach different people.

It is also always a blessing when I get to worship with my family. Family times is always important, and worshipping together helps us to grow with each other, even if that means holding a child while she complains about the loud drum in the corner.

We will be flying back on Tuesday, so tomorrow we move to a hotel near the airport, since we have a 6:00 am flight on Tuesday. This has been a nice break, a good chance for Jennifer and I to reconnect, and has recharged me somewhat, so that I can come back with a fresh perspective and be ready to get started once again.

In my prayers today I am being called to pray for the diversity we have in this great body of Christ, and that we may continue to celebrate each others gifts and grow in our love and understanding of those who are different than we are.

1 comment:

Betty Dygart said...

Pastor E. said, "In my prayers today I am being called to pray for the diversity we have in this great body of Christ, and that we may continue to celebrate each other's gifts and grow in our love and understanding of those who are different than we are."

My God, what a mouthful!

Now, I am sure Pastor E meant these words to be taken as a reflection of accepting other religions and denominations, but if we truly believed in loving and understanding those different from us, wouldn't being able to "celebrate diversity" end all wars, bring world peace and make for a heaven on earth?

Pastor Larry delivered a moving sermon today in which he shared how one of his students, a recent recruit for one of the military branches, and who knows that he will be deployed to Iraq, asked him, "if I don't make it, will you do my funeral?"

My eyes welled up, as I thought about all the young men and women who have already given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in every other war that our country has seen fit to involve us.

I don't see any respect for diversity in the pre-emptive wars begun by the United States. Today I read that over 1,300 Iraqi troops/police have deserted or mutinied, and have refused to fight alongside Americans.

What are we doing? Are we respecting them, their culture, their differences from us? If they don't wish to fight, what we are forcing them to fight for, why are WE there?

I wish I could feel good about America again. We are not leading in humanitarian efforts, even here on our own soil and the "leaders" of our government tell us lies about a war they created.

You will never convince me that the US government is in Iraq for anything other than greed for oil and whatever political advantage "winning" there will bring. (What is a win, by the way? No one is winning. Everyone is losing.)

Respect diversity? We are so far from the mark. God help us, our nation and the world; that is my prayer.