Yesterday was a wild day. For one thing, there was a LOT going on. We had our regular Sunday gathering, then a potluck lunch afterward, then our annual congregational meeting after lunch, then Jane and I were to meet with the realtor after that... plus, you know, the NFL playoffs had started. But... the best part of the day was the worship service.
I had planned the ordinary stuff for the worship gathering. A few songs, prayer, sermon and the like. The songs were perhaps all a bit on the mellower side; and after we ran through the songs before people arrived the one singer asked if she could share something after we sang "Worthy." She went with the group that took items to the homeless the day before and she said she wrote down what she wanted to say, and that it went well with that song. I thought that was fantastic! Not only did someone ASK to share a blessing, but they had actually written it down and everything. So... anyway, the service started, and something kinda just happened while we were singing. I don't usually stray from the schedule much, but during the one song I just felt like we should play without singing, and then repeat. It wasn't much of a change, but it seemed like something was happening. Then Robin shared about her experience with the homeless the day before... then someone else shared... and someone else... and... it just kept going. Pretty soon there was no time left for a sermon. I was ecstatic!!! I mean, I wish our gatherings were like this every Sunday! Can you imagine if we had people out doing some serious ministry each and every week, and our Sunday mornings were just spent praising God while we shared how we had seen him move in our midst throughout the week?!? So, anyway, I did squeeze in a Scripture reading, we took the offering, sang "Amazing Grace"... and we had killed an hour. Excellent.
By the way, the group that took items to the homeless on Saturday had a ton of good stories to tell. For one thing, this was THE MOST stuff we had ever had donated. The hallway was literally filled with coats, blankets, sleeping bags, socks, shirts, shoes, etc. They are actually planning to go again in a couple weeks because they didn't get rid of everything.
Anyway, after church we had the carry-in lunch. The church bought chicken and we asked everyone to just bring a dish to share. We only got 60 pieces of chicken, because we didn't really think that many would stay. Holy cow, I counted 50 people at one point. So we didn't have a lot of food left over. And it seemed like people were visiting and carrying on... and there seemed to be some different people there too. I had hoped to start the meeting before 12:15, but at 12:10 everyone was still having a good time chatting away. I finally had to flip the lights on and off, because for those that wanted to get home, we needed to get going.
We did start the meeting by 12:20, and I counted 37 for the meeting. It sounded like quite a few stayed downstairs to clean up, plus the kids watched a movie in the basement. At any rate, 37 is way more than the 14 from last year. So I did a very brief devotion from Luke 10; then we went through the annual report; then we confirmed the 2 new council members; confirmed the people to go to conference this summer; and we started in on new business. We talked about redoing the basement this coming year - because its use has changed and it just plain needs a little bit of attention - some paint, maybe carpet, new light fixtures, etc.; I also informed everyone that Jane and I were looking to buy our own home, and we discussed some options for the parsonage; we talked about the possibility of a new building - not just something for us to use, but to build something that is needed in the community, that we would then use when we needed it too; and we talked about the pavilion and playground, and the need for year-round restrooms. There was quite a bit of other stuff that I planned to talk about too, but time was getting late, so we adjourned the meeting at about 1:40 pm, and everyone still seemed in a good mood.
Jane and I got out of the church a little after 2 pm, and we had to meet the realtor at 3. After that we stopped by the hospital to visit someone, then we went home and had 5 messages on the answering machine. Fortunately (for me) they were all for Jane about bank issues. Since I had been at the church from 6:30 am to 2 pm, I decided not to go back over in the afternoon like I usually do. I made some phone calls, then we spent the rest of the evening trying to keep from falling asleep until it was bedtime.
There was a lot that went on, and it was all pretty darn good. I have to say, I was flying pretty high about the worship service. Not only because I can hopefully just save my sermon for this coming week (unless the Spirit works on me to prepare something else), but I was actually going to stop the "sharing blessings" portion of the service 2 weeks ago. It just seemed like we weren't really sharing anything, and it's really awkward when NO ONE has anything to share. Then a Sunday like this comes along... I mean, people that have NEVER said anything before were even sharing stuff. And we had a new family from down the road there too. After church the new people said their 5-year-old had asked them that week why they didn't go to church anymore, and they said they didn't have a good answer for her, so they decided it was time to start back. Anyway, it almost felt like I was just the host on this Sunday; and the people provided the sermon. I was just there to keep things moving. That's probably how it ought to be more often. It was a pretty humbling thing. A little bit tiring, but also very energizing all at the same time.
Peace out, my friends; and in.