This morning we had worship for the first time in several weeks at the small country church I serve. It was only our 2nd service since Dec. 13, 2009! The weather has been that crazy!
It felt so good to be back at the small church. There were 6 of us in attendence and it was a wonderful worship. One of my favorite things about this church is its honesty. When we gather it's ok to say I used to have an alcohol problem or I have an alcohol problem, I was abused, I was a pregnant teenager, I've been to jail, I cheated on my spouse or I got straight A's this week, I had a great week at work and helped to save 2 people's lives. Whatever is going on is what these folks want to know about. If there are appearances to be kept I don't know what they are and that's what I love about it. I had forgotten how good it feels to be at a church in which we are who we are and that is ok and God loves us in our brokenness and offers a better way.
This morning there was a lot going on in all of our lives. We began worship in the normal way but I soon knew that it wasn't a day to stick to the plan, stick to the bulletin. I stopped and said, "I think there is some stuff that is going on and we need to deal with it instead of trying to muddle through the worship program." Everyone agreed and people just spoke up and we talked about the things going on. I began sharing and ended up giving a sermon. We prayed over the elements and asked for God's blessing as we received the Eucharist. We sang a hymn. We prayed together. I shared the Gospel. It was CHURCH in all the best ways we can be church. We shared tears and smiles, we experienced grace. I cried much of the way to the town church out of joy and gratitude to God for being placed in this particular 2 point charge.
I was a bit late to the town church but it felt good to walk into it as well. The church was fuller than it's been in months. We had VISITORS! We rarely have visitors since we are such a small town and church and today we had one from Minnesota--a water fowl hunter, 2 sets of daughters with their husbands, and one great-grandchild! How cool is that? It was quite exciting!
A friend joined us for lunch at the house.
I served communion to a wonderful man and most of his family and nurse that had gathered round his bed as he begins his journey to a new life with a new body. As I pulled the juice soaked bread away from his lips (he can't digest anything, just small "sips" from a sponge--or bread) I realized that this was the last earthly communion he would have and soon he would be feasting at Christ's actual table. It was quite powerful.
Then there was youth group. I wasn't fully into it so I'm afraid it wasn't great but we made plans and will be making videos next week so that's pretty cool. I'll see if I can get their permission to post them here when they're done.
I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. Now I must go and put curlers in my eldest daughter's hair. Somewhere I did manage to squeeze in a 15 minute rest--not quite a nap. It's been a full day and I can't always say that.
I love these days even when they leave me exhausted and weary. I know that this one day I have truly completed what God asked of me this day.
God is good. So good. All the time.
All the time, God is good. Amen.