I think I’m giving up modern church to go back to my traditional roots. Today, like most people, I found myself setting in the old school pews I grew up in. So many things were familiar from the missionary trunk filled with goodies setting in the foyer to the buzzer sounding to let us know that it was ok to go into the sanctuary.
The entire family was there and the Wisdom/Ellis pew was overflowing. I caught myself taking my shoes off to see if the dark blue carpet still felt the same as it did when I was a little girl setting in the floor coloring. I walked around the room hugging and kissing the same way I did when I was 7 and 12 and 16, remembering how each of them influenced me spiritually in some way.
In the midst of the remembrance, and the peaceful home feeling, there was also a small glimmer of apprehension. You see…I’ve been trained, perhaps unintentionally, in recent years to expect the bells and whistles; to think that true, authentic Christianity comes from the newest, modern worship and expository preaching that would make John Piper proud. And those pastors who still wear suits…forget about it!
But today, instead of being focused on what was wrong with this “traditional” service, I was shaken with what was right. As we walked in the front door, we were bombarded with people. There was barely room to stand because everyone had congregated together to chat. And, we weren’t excluded. Everyone came to greet and/or meet us. It wasn’t hokey or awkward. There was no hesitation, or guarded handshakes. They asked genuine questions about our life, how are day was, and what we would be having for Easter Dinner.
I loved watching my mom smile with pride as we all piled in to set next to her. Her nieces and nephews surrounded her, as the adults took the end slots.
There was no dimming of lights to signal we were getting started, the musicians simply started playing. My face lit up as I watched Uncle Buddy on the Bass, Margaret on the organ, and Ted on the guitar. It was just as I remembered it, especially as Travis headed up to the drums. Memories flooded back from sunday school class, youth trips, and lots of prayer. And, I was a little surprised that after all these years, I could still remember every word to “Because He Lives.”
Next, was the solo. The track didn’t work! Not only did it not work, but it made a creepy sound. Surprisingly, nobody turned to look and judge the poor sound guy (because we know its always their fault). The soloist waited patiently and made a few jokes. The sound guy tried a few times, each time the sound getting more and more odd, even getting an exclamation from Jace of, “It sounds like an alien invasion.”
The soloist and the musicians then just decided to wing it. I forgot how talented they were. She started singing and they just started one by one jumping in to play. I think it made it more special!
And, the sermon reminded me of what I missed with Pentecostal services. Each word getting more and more excited. I later had to answer Jace’s question of, “why was that guy yelling at us when he talked.”
I loved the family of it all!
I loved the way community just happened naturally!
I loved that even in my sunday best I felt relaxed, comfortable, and at home!