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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I Like About my Church


Well, we said goodbye to our Minister today. Remember I posted a couple of weeks ago that he was leaving for a new posting in Washington. He's actually leaving next week, but a lot of people won't be there due to the holiday, so they had his going away party today. I made him a very cool little photo book with pictures from all the different events we've been a part of throughout the years. Things like Vacation Bible School, Mission Trips to impoverished areas, potluck dinners, holiday celebrations, cute little programs with the kids, fund raising activities like our garage sale and our annual Silent Auction. We've been there for 11 years and we've stored up a lot of good memories over the years.

This got me to thinking about all the things I like best about our church. In a lot of ways, I think it's pretty much like all the other churches, but in some ways, I think it's kind of unique and there's lots of little things I like about it.

I like how everyone doesn't just sit with their own families. It's a complete mixed bag. Sometimes my kids sit with us, but there are at least four other families that they might sit with on any given Sunday or we may end up with a stray kid or two. There's one family with a couple of teenaged girls that nearly always have a cute toddler or two that they have "borrowed" to play with. And the teens just don't sit all together and goof around like my youth group used to do, sometimes they sit with other parents or their Sunday school leaders, or some of the older people in the church, which I think is pretty cool. Even the older folks shift around sometimes and sit with other families that they are close to.

I really like the "passing of the peace" at our church. This is a common ritual in most Protestant churches. They have a moment during the service where you are supposed to stand and greet one another in Christ. It's kind of like the 7th inning stretch, although it occurs more like in the 3rd inning. In my old church, you would stand up, shake hands with the person on one side and then the person on the other and maybe turn around to the people behind you and then sit down. At our church, it is a free-for-all. It goes on for at least five minutes and the aisles are completely clogged with people hugging, shaking hands, and visiting. It's a great way to touch base with friends and family, admire babies, check up on people who weren't feeling well, and to meet new visitors. We always sit in the back because that's where the visitors tend to hide and I like to make a special point of greeting them and making them feel welcomed.

Another moment I like is the Prayers of the People. I think every church has a prayer time where they pray for the sick and show thankfulness for the good things that have happened, but we do it a little differently than most churches. We have little prayer cards in the bulletins that you can fill out and the minister or the lay leader will read them, but a few years ago, we started raising our hands and saying them out loud too. I think it really makes us stronger as a community. We pray about tragedies, both at home and around the world, ailing parents, co-workers, and friends, cancer struggles, job losses, and every other kind of struggle imaginable, but we also hear about birthdays and pregnancies, successful accomplishments, and safe trips. The kids are included, so we've also prayed for sick puppies, dead goldfish and hamsters, math tests, and karate tournaments. That's the beauty of it.

We like kids at our church. They aren't always quiet and they aren't always well-behaved, but they're ours and we love them. The fun thing is that you never know what they are going to do or say. One day during communion, one of the kids knocked over the juice cup. Yup, broken cup out of a matched set we've had for years and grape juice all over the floor, all at a very solemn moment. In some churches, people might have gotten upset. Not us - a kid is a kid and they do stuff like that. Everyone just chuckled and shook their heads and enjoyed the fact that it wasn't THEIR child - for once. Then someone went and got some paper towels to mop it up. 

One time, during the Children's Moment, the pastor was talking about special talents and asked the kids what their special talent was. This kid played the piano and that one played soccer, etc. My little darling raises his hand - what is his special talent? BELCHING! Took a while to live that one down....

Here's what we did today. The kids did a little mini-musical called "It's Hot in the Furnace". It was a blast. It had rap, calypso music, a little jazz and it was just hilarious. Where else are you going to see a bunch of kids dressed in basically dust rags and scarves playing kazoos and singing about Shadrach, Meshach and Abenendigo? Priceless!



(Yes, that's my little darling in the middle surrounded by all the girls. What can I say, he's a rock star!).

I think one of my favorite moments is at the end of the service. We all hold hands and say a special prayer together. I think it's kind of cool because my son has heard this prayer virtually every week since he was born and he could quote most of it by the time he was three or four. I say it to myself once in a while when I'm really stressed out. Other than the Lord's Prayer, it's probably the only prayer I know by heart.

Go out into the world in peace
Hold onto what is good
Have courage
Return no one evil for evil
Strength the faint-hearted, help the weak,
Support the suffering
Honor all people
Love and serve the Lord
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit

That pretty much says it all.



8 comments:

carolm

hey adrian, you know i get your posts regularly, but i only respond when there is something that knocks my sox off.

i love this post and the prayer at the end. i am going to print out the entire post and give it to my own pastor.

love you girlfriend!!!
xoxo ~ carol.

Adrian

Thank you Carol! I think that is the nicest comment I've ever received.

angie

What a great way to give us all a "glimpse" of your church!

Tiffany

This sounds like the kind of church I am looking for.

Thanks for renewing my hope that it does exist.

Rhea

It sounds like you really enjoy your church, and I'm so glad to hear that. :o)

Diva Scrapper

What a nice story. Thank you for sharing.

April

I love the poem at the end of your blog. Did you write it? Either way it's beautiful.

Tiffany

Fabulous post.

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