The weekend’s are full for me each week. Four worship services, High School Youth Group, and Bible A-Z.
Worship Service. It was All Saints Day. Growing up in a Baptist, anti-liturgical culture, I had always thought that All Saints was a day that people worshipped the saints. I was wrong, of course. At Grace, we spend All Saints Day remembering our loved ones who have passed away and celebrating the universal, timeless body of Christ. After the prayers we displayed the photos of the people who had funeral services in our church over the past year. The photo displayed, their name was spoken, and a single chime rang out. The echoes of that chime reverberated through the sanctuary and sent chills down my spine. Then we invited the congregation to speak the name of someone they wished to remember. Names were called out all across the room. It was powerful.
We also welcomed several children to take first communion. It was neat to see them all kneeling at the altar with their parents. Their faces were bright and full of innocence bringing wonderful and bittersweet contrast to the mournful tears of a recent widow. Bitter herbs mixed with the sweetness of youth, this is the wonderful, mysterious thing we call the universal body of Christ. I was glad to be a part of it.
I also had the privilege of preaching this week on Luke 20:27-40. Listen to the message here.
High School Youth Group. It was a good time. On the first Sunday of every month the Freshmen who are involved with Own Your Faith come to meet with their mentors. The presence of more Freshmen than usual, some new upperclassmen, and a more structured and fun opening part of the meeting all combined to make what, in my opinion, was our best meeting to date. I loved that fact that we had a little cafe-like area where students could connect over food and activities. The games were fun, and, it was great that Zach led the second one. Special thanks to Alex, Sarah, and Micki for doing the announcements. I led a brief talk about the next fear in our series – Know Fear – The Fear of Death. The small groups went well, from what I heard. Then, we ended in the youth room with free time. I was encouraged to see how many students stayed around, just talking and playing games. Sweet!
Bible A-Z. We covered the Prophets this week. Doesn’t that sound exciting! It is, actually, when you wrap your mind around what the prophets were all about. I started the class by asking the students (adults this time) to think about a person they know who is involved in a behavior that is harmful to themself. Then I asked them to spend a few minutes and write a letter to that person to tell them what they think God would say to them and what they would want to say to them.
That’s what the prophets were all about. They were God’s mouthpiece to speak the truth to the people of Israel, warning them that their current choices were going to get them into big trouble. God didn’t send the prophets because he’s an angry God who likes to yell at people. He sent them because he’s a loving Father who doesn’t want his children to hurt themselves.
Even though the weekends are packed, and I’m pretty much brain dead by 8:30 Sunday night, it is good to be part of what God is doing in people’s lives.