Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

Back side of church as seen from the lake. 
I haven't felt much like either writing a post or doing much in the way of reading and responding to other posts the last few days.  What I have been doing is thinking a lot about our service this morning.  The church is in a beautiful location, right on the edge of a large lake.  There is a dock for tying up a boat (a few people actually come to church via the water in the summer) and a flagpole at dockside.

Since it is Memorial Day weekend, we thought it would be a good time to put the flags up for the season, as well as have a service that would be meaningful to our congregation, who are mostly older.  So, we scheduled only one service instead of two.  Before the service, we all went outside and the flags were raised (the American and the Episcopal) and our entrance hymn was the Star Spangled Banner.  The service was held in the parish hall and everyone sat around the tables set up for the brunch to follow.  The music was old favorites:  from Shall we gather at the river and Let there be peace on earth, to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  

For a sermon I spoke about how our reading from the Book of Acts was very much like the search process going on here.  The search committee has developed its criteria (for the disciples it was deciding that the person to replace Judas had to have been a follower from the beginning of Jesus' ministry), they've screened the candidates and come up with two.  I told them that since they know they like both of them a lot, they needed to do like the disciples and pray about which person God is calling to this place at this time.  I didn't suggest they draw lots, although after the final interviews they may decide that this is an OK course of action, especially if they still think both candidates are equal.

I opened up the second part of the sermon to the people present this morning.  I said that Jesus had left his teachings to his disciples and on this day when we remember those men and women who have given themselves to the service of our country, it would be nice to recall those whom we know and love and speak briefly on what teachings they left us.  People spoke about fathers and sons and husbands and cousins and what lessons they had learned from them.  Things like a feeling of security, ways of dealing with the world, love, sense of humor, treating other people fairly and without discrimination, songs from WWI passed on, love of living, love of country, follow through, sense of responsibility, and others I can't remember.  I ended by saying so much of what we have learned are the kinds of things Jesus  taught. I also said that sermons can be done in community just like we did and we can learn from each other.

The brunch was of course fun. Lots of good food and time for people to speak to each other. Most people thought it great that they had time to really talk to those who normally go to the other service.  Some faces we haven't seen for awhile are back and that was nice too.  I counted 7 faces we haven't seen since late last Fall.  We also celebrated a 90th birthday.  This wonderfully spry woman continues to do a lot for this parish.  To help throw her off the scent, we gave her a card and a little felt "church mouse" as a present, because later that afternoon her family was planning a big surprise party, and boy was she surprised.  So it was a full and joy-filled day.

The day started a bit cool and overcast, with some drops of rain, but it has ended up nice and sunny with fluffy clouds in the sky.  There was enough wind to make the flags stand straight out.  Isabelle is stretched out on the floor, snoring up a storm.  She was present at all today's events, begged for cheese and of course got some and is now a tired puppy.  I'm pretty tired too, but also content.

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