This has been an unusual Sunday.
Yesterday our car broke down two towns away. Ryan and Jameson had gone to the Goodwill drop-off (we’d spent the day cleaning and tossing), and just short of their destination, the van quit. I’m just really glad it happened with Ryan, and not with me.
So, with no car, getting to our church posed a bit of a problem. Or, rather, an impossibility. We were so bummed! Fortunately, though, there are several church option within walking distance. After getting dressed up in our Sunday best, we put Jameson in his stroller and headed off to a church we’ve wanted to visit since moving here. The style of worship isn’t our favorite, and there are several foundational things we disagree on — which is why it was never “in the running” — but we’ve heard great things about the pastor.
Soaring ceilings, massive wooden beams, beautiful stained glass windows: I understand why my mother wishes for such things on Sunday morning. If you’re lucky enough to attach only positive implications to such surroundings, then you may find it beautiful and deeply worshipful.
We weren’t sure of what to expect. How much not our style would this end up being? Would the sermon even be something we could agree with? Looking around: How many of these people do we suppose are saved? (Go ahead, criticize my smallness of thought.)
Well, the songs were good, but calling it contemporary worship is a stretch. (Think Vineyard crossed with sit-kneel-stand-repeatafterme.) The announcements were… impressive (testimonies of millions raised come to mind), but canned. The baby on my lap was… squirming and starting to make a bit too much noise, so we quickly vacated the premises. Ryan would have to fill me in on the sermon.
And fill me in he did — with tears in his eyes. Some of the best preaching he’s heard, he said. Deeply, deeply moving. What stories! what transparency! what insight! How amazing, we said, as we walked away amidst the stream of church-goers that floods little Menlo Park two times every Sunday — how amazing that such an amazingly influential cross-section of this amazingly influential area are our brothers and sisters. Maybe it’s not where we’ll commit ourselves, and maybe there are things we don’t quite understand, and maybe there are things we completely disagree with — but still. There is life and growth and Kingdom perspective happening right down the road. And that’s awesome to know.
I have to agree: I like church.