Friday, August 31, 2012

Presbyterian Visit

Finding Church

If you wish, you can read
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I've discovered that while I think of myself as being contemporary in my heart....I'm really traditional in my soul. I must admit I'm a bit disappointed in that lesson.

Live and learn.

As a reminder, I am currently a member of a Presbyterian church. So you shouldn't be surprised that the next church we visited was....

wait for it

....a Presbyterian church!

During the summer, my church had Adult Vacation Bible School led by a guest pastor from a local Presbyterian church. One of my Bible Study buddies sent me his outlines from each of the five days he taught the group. She liked his message and said she'd like to go and visit his church sometime. The seed was planted.

Wonderful Husband, our son and I went to the church and it was quite a driving adventure. Windy, narrow, Pennsylvania roads and all I could think of was that there would be no way for me to drive there during a heavy rain...or snow, but Wonderful Husband did a great job on finding the Presbyterian church which was founded in 1811.

We parked and walked into the sanctuary where we saw a plaque that said it had been renovated in 1875. The pews had cushioned seats but in the center of each pew were wooden dividers. I had never seen anything like it before. I was seated with a divider on my left and on the other side of it was "a little old lady." (Actually there were three.)

Confession: I told Wonderful Husband and our son on the walk from the parking lot that there was going to be a short meeting after the service. There may have been some moans and groans from the men-folk. I then explained that we could have an escape plan: immediately after the benediction, we could quickly exit.

My thoughts:
  • A small church.
  • A traditional Presbyterian service like we have at our church.
  • A treat when the pastor introduced 3 new members and seemed to personally know them.
  • The usual, yet unusual choice of summer music: a marimba (instrumental) solo.
  • The sermon entitled "Keeping a Good Man Honest." I don't have a clue why he chose that title.
  • A difference by being instructed to hold hands during the benediction. Then the funny thing happened. I was holding the little old lady's hand on my left and Wonderful Husband's hand on my right. After the benediction, the lady didn't release my hand but leaned over and said, "You're a first time visitor today?" (Please note that I had signed the Act of Friendship pad and checked off "First Time Visitor.") Yet I am always respectful of my elders. After all, I am an elder to many younger people now! I answered, "Yes and it was a blessing to worship with you today." I squeezed her hand gently and she released me. I turned to nudge Wonderful Husband and our son out of the pew and they were long gone! I had to jog to catch up with them in the parking lot! Ha!
Thoughts from me, Wonderful Husband and our son:
The sermon had a couple good points.
1. Peace can't be found externally but internally through the Holy Spirit, and
2. Be open to God's gifts.

Wonderful Husband helped me figure out that the pastor was a prefacer, a preambler, a prologuer. (My bad for making up these words.)

prologue - a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem or novel

I thought he was beginning his sermon but it was a preface to the sermon. In fact, every time he spoke it was a prologue to what was going to be said next.

Have you ever known anyone who prefaces almost everything they say?
Here's an extreme example: "I know you don't care but what do you want for dinner tonight?"
If someone said this to me I would be thinking, "Why do they think I don't care?" instead of what I want for dinner. So my mind is processing the first part and missing the second part for a while. I'm playing catch-up when I realize what is happening next is the important part.

That's how we felt during the sermon and other parts of the service. We were processing the wrong thing(s) and not catching up very quickly to the points the pastor was trying to make.

Let me end on an up-note though. It was the friendliest church we had visited so far. You could feel the love the people had toward each other and toward us visitors too. A member got up to share how thankful he was for the congregation's support and gave details of his family's struggles with health issues. The pastor was patient and listened as did the entire congregation. It was very touching.

Recently I was watching Dr. David Jeremiah on TV and he pointed out that one cure for immaturity in faith is "exposure to teaching that goes beyond the basics."


to be continued....

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