Sunday, January 20, 2013

Typical Sunday


It's a cold day here in central Minnesota. The preacher's family is ready for service again today. The preacher isn't the only one with a ministry -- the shepherding is his job, but the rest of us are in on this, too. The ladies in this family are called into the ministry by default! It's a priviledge to serve the Lord! We bundle up this morning and haul the song books, dinner, meal supplies, and the piano with its stand and bench out to the warm van. "Warm" is a relative term. The van is garaged, and the light was left on all night to make sure the van would start this morning. Can't have the van not starting on a church day.  Suprisingly, a single old fashioned incandescent light bulb in the ceiling raised the garage temp some 25 degrees higher than it was outside, and for that we were all grateful.

At five minutes to our starting time the janitor, who also attends our church meetings, shows up to open the building. We set up pulpit, chairs, song books, piano, and dinner in record time and welcome our usual visitors, along with a first-time family of six. Eighteen total today -- yay! We of little faith were counting on twelve, six of them being us. Some are sick, some are too far away for a weekly trip, some have somewhere else to go on Sunday morning, and maybe some worship at St. Mattress. Every week the number is different, and we range from twelve on a low week to nearly thirty on a high one. Whether many or few, we are very glad to see every soul that walks through the door. 

After our piano player arpeggios through a few songs, and it is time to begin. We sing God-honoring hymns and gospel songs like they used to do in the old days. For some the old days weren't that long ago. As more and more churches go emergent and chase away their conservative or older people, the churches with godly music are becoming fewer and farther between. Others have never experienced the old days, and they are not familiar with the music. But it's okay. When you hear godly music, you recognize it for what it is. It doesn't sound like anything the world produces.

The preacher's girls sing a capella, Do You Know My Jesus? How grateful we are for our preacher family's little music ministry. They are a blessing to many more than just their parents. The piano player does a truly fabulous job, and now we have three more in training to take her place someday. (--Unless her someday husband, Mark the Perfect Man, takes seriously the command to leave and cleave. In that case, we count on the two of them to be a part of this work together and to live in the same town we do.)   :)

The preacher opens the Scriptures to Hebrews 9:27, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. The new visitors will not escape without a clear gospel presentation and the knowledge that God wants a response to his invitation to come to him -- by repenting from their sins and receiving Jesus Christ. During the closing prayer, two of the visitor children are battling over the direction of a spinning chair. The preacher's wife gets up quietly and moves the chair out of reach. The children look up at her, shocked. She smiles at them. She has decided not to worry about offending children who do not know how to show respect for the Lord, the pastor, or for the others in attendance.  She bows her head again and asks the Lord to multiply the food for this meal, for unless he does, there is not going to be enough to go around.

Dinner is served. While the tables and chairs are set up for seating, two pans of lasagna have miraculously appeared!  (I love those prayers that are answered before they are even prayed. Thank you, Lord!) The preacher's wife, now more assertive than she was ten minutes ago, boldly tells the children to wash their hands. We hungrily dish up scalloped potatoes, lasagna, wild rice salad, cranana muffins, and some other tasty things that have been generously provided by the Lord and the ladies. Over a good hot meal, we all enjoy some fellowship and have a good time getting to know each other better. We gather up seven baskets full of left overs and clean up the mess, and the visiting family leaves us with a promise to return next week with cousins. :)  (And hopefully some food, too.)

The twelve of us who are left rearrange the seats again, and each person takes one. The preacher takes song number requests, and we can sing the first verses of our favorites. Someone usually asks for #499, Are We Downhearted?, because the whistling part makes everyone laugh. Our best whistler, a six year old, is absent today, and it's not quite the same without her! Someone picks verse two of The Star Spangled Banner. We stand for that one, of course. After about sixteen first verses it is time for Bible study. No children this week, so no children's class. Our Sunday school teacher is disappointed, but she is looking forward to a lively bunch next week.

Today's lesson is on Acts 7 and the unexpected positive outcome of Stephen's martyrdom. God knows the end from the beginning, and something that appears today to be a tragedy may be necessary for great things to happen later. God used Stephen's preaching and his unjust death to convict Saul's conscience of his own self-righteousness. As a result, the gospel was spread all over the known world!  I am glad God controls all things. He does not see death like we do. We can trust him when things look bad for us! I will make a habit of saying, "I trust you, Lord," when things are difficult or inconvenient or tragic. Amen.

It is 1:30 and our day at church is done.  The Lord's servants load the van again, this time in the cold wind. We say goodbye to our friends. After a quick stop thirty miles down the road at Caribou Coffee for a frozen(!) coffee and at Culvers for a cold(!) shake for two girls to split, we arrive at home. There are dishes to do and things to put away. But this is our day of rest! The dishes will wait for tomorrow.

  ♪ ♫  All day long I've been with Jesus
It has been a glorious day
I've just moved up one step higher
And I'm walking on the King's highway.

All day long I've talked with Jesus,
It has been a glorious day.
It has moved me one step higher
On my walk along the King's highway.

Won't you come and walk with Jesus?
It will be a glorious day.
You can leave your sin and sorrow,
You can walk upon the King's highway. 
♫ ♪



8 comments:

  1. Sounds lovery. God Bless the preacher and the preacher's family.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful day, wish I could have joined you. :)

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    Replies
    1. You know you are all welcome to join us any and every Sunday. Or Wednesday, even! ♥

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    2. I know. Thanks Sally. Maybe next Sunday.

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  3. Beautifully written, I feel as if I were there! God bless your efforts.

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  4. Loved the visit, Sally ~ sounds like a wonderful family-in-the-Lord!

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  5. That sounds wonderful. What a beautiful way to spend a Sabbath day.

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