Church Surch Week 22, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
"Be still before The Lord and wait patiently for Him."
~Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
I drove though the fog and found the church, a white building shrouded with more whiteness.
California churches are just...different. Khakis, untucked shirts and sandals make for standard fare in sun country. The women dress better than the men, many with skirts and dresses, some wearing pants. A few wear shorts. Wow, the building was of contemporary construction with facilities for concurrent services (traditional and contemporary), children's church, plus preschool during the week. Because of the mild and wonderful weather, much socializing takes place outside.
I've never been to a Presby church before, so I entered with only my prejudices. I thought they were cerebral. However, I understood ALL the big words. My first exposure to this denomination occurred in my neighborhood where I grew up, as a sign announced, Caution: Pedestrian Traffic. I thought it read, Caution: Presbyterian Traffic. Why were there so many of that church persuasion there? I wondered as a kid.
200 people filed into the early service, and the banter eased into the building too. Nobody spoke with me however.
Two firsts this week: A flier in the pew gave us earthquake advice. Get under the pew. I saw the humor in that because as a young lad, I participated in an earthquake, in a church, and dove under the pew.
The other first, in a joyous bit of inspiration, Cathy painted a landscape throughout the service, off to the right. Her painting depicted silence and solitude. I contemplated her creativity and expression of beauty. What do I do, what do you do, that glorifies God with its beauty, its art? The singers and musicians certainly make beauty. We sing in the congregation, making beauty. What if a church service allowed any demonstration of beauty and creativity? People could paint, sing, play, dance or wave flags. Wouldn't that be beautiful worship?
What beauty do we create every day, to glorify God? It doesn't need to be artistic. 1,600 people from the church are scheduled to participate in ninety projects in the San Diego area, serving their community.
Pastor Mike preached on silence and solitude, and confessed he would run until he completely self-destructed if not for his wife, forcing him to stop, to say no now and then. Very good message.
The congregation crossed age and social barriers, a mix of people with a common thread. The church now manages 800 people in small groups. Their marriage course is at capacity. A financial peace class will help with the practicalities of life, and they serve Hispanic members too.
Worship consisted of three singers, a pianist, two guitars and another first, a young man played the sax. And we did worship, but it felt a bit reserved. Funny, since people dress so casually, you'd think they wouldn't care what others thought, but it seemed a bit stilted. Break out the flags and tambourines! Pastor Mike dismissed us with a blessing and people wandered outside, but only moved to another place to talk and socialize. I believe one sign of a living church is how fast-or how slowly, actually-people leave. Outside kiosks made coffee and rolls available as the sun struggled through the fog. One person engaged me in conversation. Score them low on the friendliness meter, at least for strangers.
A very nice church, where I wouldn't mind being a participant. As long as the words aren't too big.
Make something beautiful beautiful this week.
Hats off to Pastor Dave from the Methodist Church we visited last month. He
emailed me to see how we're doing. They already won the Most Friendly Church,
but he took it once again to another level. Great job Pastor Dave, and thanks!