Church Surch, Week 19
"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The criteria for this week's Church Surch was to find a building with a great big steeple. Why not? The Presbyterians won, with a sharp pointed edifice, spearing onto the sky. But then, no. They didn't have services there! The Presbies were out, and the Baptists, across the street with a less dramatic steeple (and growing weeds out of it!) was in.
I haven't been in a Baptist Church in around forty two years, but memories are good, as a messed up teenager, in second gear on the drag strip to alcoholism, met Christ, and a new creature left that building that day. Funny how I haven't been connected since then. The First Baptist Church resides downtown. (Are there never second or third Baptist churches? Always first? And why aren't there first Catholic or Lutheran churches? Or first gas stations, for that matter?) We entered and Thelma greeted us with bulletins, very friendly. Inside the church-a beautiful old building-wore light colors and white, with high ceilings and decorative cornices. The inside was in better repair than the outside. We sat in a pew and met Ron, who asked us to move, as a family usually sat there.
Really? Fifty people in a church that seats two fifty or so, and this family MUST sit in their pew? And is their seat position that important that Ron would ask strangers to move? Amazing. We graciously moved.
Pastor Steve came by and greeted us, very friendly, and worked his way around the building, meeting people new and old. The bulletin announced the upcoming 200th anniversary of the church. Congratulations!
We felt pretty young as the church filled, and finally some younger people showed up, probably after getting the kids herded up and out the door. But the demographic was mostly gray to white.
The service started right on time, after the church bell announced it. Old church bells somehow seem really cool to me, who likes contemporary music, go figure.
We sang songs from 1978 (three of them, isn't that something? A lot of inspiration in 1978), 1665 and 1551. And I haven't used the word 'aye' in any context, outside of a church.
A woman brought the kids (four of them) up front and they helped her with a story about Samuel and Eli. And one little boy couldn't sit still! Very nice.
Pastor Steve spoke about Labor Day and used two scriptures, Proverbs 13:4 and Malachi 3:5, both quite different. You'll have to look them up. Quilter Girl liked the sermon and I didn't care for it, as I felt it was too cultural, not
enough what God would have us do. He spoke about how unions were important but that management was too. I respected him when he stated he believed in capitalism, and that democratic capitalism is what has made this country prosperous. I agree, however, I think it's because of our Christian principles as a basis for it that makes it work so well.
We celebrated communion, and Pastor Steve reflected on Neil Armstrong's fame, who had died last week. You're probably wondering what Armstrong and communion have in common. Buzz Aldrin, another astronaut, in his book writes of how they spoke the words of Jesus and shared communion on the moon when they first landed there. The first food eaten on the moon was communion.
One thing we did that I've never done in a church, was gather in the aisle, hold hands and sang 'Blest Be the Tie That Binds.' That was a nice connection for us.
And a tip of the hat to Bobbi, who played the piano and organ. You played and are, beautiful.
Sure would like to see younger people in that church. Washington is a big town, and we need to reach more people. It would be great to have them celebrate their 300th birthday with a church jammed with people and three services on Sundays, two on Saturday night. Who replaces the oldsters when they die off? Leaving, most people jogged for the exits, but Sandy, Pastor Steve's wife, engaged us and being a former biker, was excited about our trip. And, of course, we met friendly people in the parking lot.
Glad I went to church today.