Today we visited CrossRoads, an Evangelical Free church we’ve visited a few times before.
I hadn’t realized I’d been missing contemporary music. We sing some older contemporary at our current church, but not many of the ones I especially like. And it was nice to hear a band again — drums, electric guitar, etc. The band wasn’t too loud; we could hear people singing around us and hear ourselves. And while this church maybe (this is just one Sunday, after all) could use more songs about God and his other attributes, it was refreshing to hear and sing about his love for us. (Not in the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend sense that some contemporary music carries.)
It was nice to be with more than a dozen other families.
Amy enjoyed her Sunday School class — decent snack of cheese crackers and water (good — no juice, no candy), Bible story with followup activities, a song, painting, felt board play. There was a CD playing, and Amy said they didn’t have a video because the DVD was lost — I would rather have a Sunday School class without background music or video.
The church just finished something they called Love Week. There was a mission team sent to the Dominican Republic, and some other mission called Project Reach, and a ton of community service projects including clean up, painting, yard work, visitation, and so on. All ages participated. Neat idea.
The sermon was called “Is Love Week Over?” and the basic gist was, “No, it’s not — we need to keep this up every day!” I appreciate the desire to not compartmentalize, to not have service as a once in a while thing.
On the other hand, I didn’t get a good sense of the importance of sustainability. It is relatively easy to set aside normal commitments to do unusual service for a week. But to have an openness, willingness, and commitment to serve every day needs a different perspective and approach. It has to take into account ordinary commitments like work, family, and — yes — self-care, friends, rest, and the like.
I think of the Good Samaritan, who was not on a mission trip, not going out of his way to find opportunities to serve, but was merely traveling on his own business — he stopped to take care of a need he came across, did what he was able to do, and went on with his business. I think we need to think of service as less an extraordinary, unusual, separate, distinct thing, and think more of it as something included, something assimilated, something that is sustainable.
The text for the sermon was the first chapter of Nehemiah, in which he learns of the distressed situation of the post-exilic Israelites, mourns, and prays. The next chapter goes on to say that he went on with his normal business of being cup-bearer to the king, and that only when the king noticed and asked about his sadness did he say anything, and even then didn’t share any plans until the king asked.
Boldness, and faith that God can and does do immeasurably beyond what we ask or even imagine, does not preclude keeping up with ordinary commitments and activities, does not mean stomping preemptively on others’ sensibilities, etc. The key seems to be praying and waiting, being open, rather than too quickly jumping into grand schemes.
It was nice to visit another church. To be in our own town. And to be home well before lunch time!