This past weekend consisted of several hours of my being in a church building or on property. And I enjoyed every minute of this! Or to put it better, I was blessed - so-o-o-o blessed!
It began early Saturday morning, when before dawn I was riding the bus to Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples) to help out with the annual yard sale. Tables were already set up with items for sale on them, so I strolled along the front driveway and browsed. I saw several items which I considered purchasing. But then I chose to practice self-discipline: I'd wait 'til just before the closing down of the sale and if an item I'd liked was still available, I'd consider that the Lord was allowing me to have it and I'd then buy it. Most of the items I wanted the most were gone, but I still went home with a few "treasures". These included "Bleachers", the only John Grisham book I've read and one of my favorites of the books I'd read back in San Antonio as member of a branch library's book (reading & discussion) club.
Saturday evening I attended my first Candlelight for a Walk to Emmaus since leaving San Antonio. Bill Burleigh, who's director for Operation Sand Down Nashville, picked me up; he already had a couple other passengers. He drove us to the IHOP in Hermitage, near the church that's the location for the Walk. It turned out that a couple of the others had lived in Texas (I think one might have been a native Texan). We got to comparing and arguing good-naturedly about Texas barbecue versus Tennessee barbecue. We also discussed fajitas over the IHOP fare that we were actually eating.
Then we went on over to HErmitage UMC for "Candlelight" for the Men's Walk to Emmaus #162. Some of the details of how Candlelight is done here are different from Candlelights in Texas, but the overall concept is identical. Therefore, it was good to be present for this event!
Sunday morning Eastwood Christian's worship included an arrangement of "Blessed Assurance" as choir anthem. Since I had missed two straight Wed. choir rehearsals I chose to "sit out" this anthem. As the choir sang it I had conflicted feelings. On the one hand I felt that I probably could have sung with them after all, and I was missing singing with them. On the other hand it was such an overwhelming blessing to be out there in the congregation listening to our gifted choir!
Associate Pastor Michael Lehman did the communion meditation/invitation. He remarked about the "Great Communion" joint worship last Sunday afternoon on World Communion Sunday. HE pointed out what I had missed: that there was precious LITTLE real fellowship and communication between persons of the various congregations and denominations represented. Then he called for us present this morning to pass the sign of peace to others, especially persons we didn't know or know well.
Wow! if this wasn't the Spirit at work, then I don't know what it was!
This being the second Sunday of the month, I went out in the evening to Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples) for their second Sunday dinner and worship. It was my second church dinner of the day, since Eastwood held a dinner right after morning worship. I sure was glad that my VA dietitian, Debbie, who's a Vine Street member and usually attends Second Sunday, was out of state. Had she been there and heard me confess to already having been at another church dinner the same day, I'm sure she would have glared at me!
For the worship, upstairs in the main sanctuary, KK Wiseman did something different -- which is par for the course at the quite alternative worship. She actually preached, about grace but that's the end of the story and we have to go thru the middle of the story which is sin. One hears very little about sin in today's sermons, at least among congregations of mainline denominations. And I think this cheapens the value of the divine grace which is so frequently the topic of sermons. So I appreciated KK's words about sin (she actually didn't use the three-letter word often, but clearly it was what she was talking about).