I was present for worship on Resurrection Sunday morning, not in one but two separate churches.
It was a great Lord’s Day.
In my current church there were three services and my wife was singing in the choir for each one, leaving yours truly with extra time to scout around.
Our church is a large, thriving church. It is also my home church from long ago prior to seminary and service as a pastor.
I love the family atmosphere on Easter with kids being dressed up – little girls in frilly, lacy, brightly colored dresses. Some little boys in outfits with suspenders and bow ties.
Ah, there’s a 30ish young man with an abundance of sartorial confidence: bright salmon colored blazer, bright green shirt, red bow tie, blue slacks. Looks like a painted bunting or a basket of Easter eggs. Very sharp.
I leave my seat in the sanctuary, it’s overcrowded, so others can have a seat and go to the spacious lobby where I can watch and listen on a screen. Being a keen watcher of humanity, it proves to be a better spot. Two women decide to go barefoot in the lobby. One has a broken shoe. The other, perhaps just hot feet or something. Strange. And here’s a middle-aged, well-dressed woman running, semi-full sprint, back and forth. Maybe to the nursery and back. Don’t know what that was about.
Jewish guy, yarmulke, odd dress, Star of David bible? Some messianic type, I guess.
OK, in my eighth decade of life I don’t expect people to dress as they did a half century ago but the numbers of oddly dressed people perplexes me. Bare midriffs? Is this a thing? I get that influencers influence people but, seriously, the necklines and short skirts at church. This is normal, tugging and pulling at clothing to try and fix things? My day is past. One can’t help but notice.
In a church with three back-to-back-to-back services, the parking changeover is murder between the first/second and second/third services. People trying to back into spaces, back out of spaces. Watch out for those seniors who drive cars without cameras. Stiff-necked people who can’t look behind. I managed without a ding.
The designated senior parking faces a drainage pond. This morning there were unusual water birds in it. I came close to taking out my spotting scope and tripod and checking them out. Resisted, and avoided major marital damage at the same time. Good decision by me. I occasionally make good ones.
The music was splendid, “Crown Him with many crowns” and some more contemporary pieces were outstanding. The pastor always does a good job preaching. I left a bit early to get out of the parking lot unscathed and undented. I’m old enough to do such things as leaving early with impunity. The powers that be can deal with it. I will not be scolded about leaving a megachurch service early.
My second church service was in the young (around 15 years) church I was a part of for a decade after retirement and at which I was volunteer staff guy helping in some areas. The church rents a school amphitheater for a single service on Easter. It’s a great place. The weather was sunny and warm. I wear a hat to church. I’ve already had once skin cancer on the top of my head – got it cut out and it left a dent. I don’t need another dent in my noggin. One is plenty.
This church is younger and, noticeably more tattooed. Body art is a part of life, just not mine. I’m nonjudgmental and resigned to that. The church is less formal – wonderful people. I see not a single bare midriff or inappropriate garb. I do see a father/son who are all matched up in country formal: dress jacket, string tie, blue jeans, boots and cowboy hats. Very cool. I’ve never owned a cowboy hat or a pair of boots. Will die with my shoes or sneakers on, not boots. Baseball cap: world champ Atlanta Braves in RealTree pattern is my choice. This church reaches a much wider and diverse group. Lot’s of folks who have never gone to church before. Great church doing a great job.
I sit at a cocktail table behind the amphitheater seating. No cocktails but a nice view of the stage and lovely small pond beyond. Some barn swallows swoop around. Fabulous atmosphere.
The singing was good, preaching was good. Great service. The enthusiastic young (45ish) pastor insists on the attendees doing the wave. Others but not me. I have old codger standards you know and I’m standing by them. But, no ‘bah, humbug!’ either. People enjoy being in this church. I love that and am pleased to have been a part of it.
Nothing was missing from either church service but talk about CRT, the SBC takeover crowd, and liberal drift. That whole business is a total fraud. What counts in SBC life happens on Sunday morning when ordinary people gather to worship.
The first church is thoroughly SBC. The second, tangentially so, being involved heavily in the local association and giving to the mission offerings. If the SBC needs a redirection it is in giving value to cooperating churches, not in restoring a certain crowd to power. Bah, humbug on the whole thing.
But Easter in the local churches was fantastic for me. Hope you had the same joy in worship.