We were on the Eurodam for 17 days – three of them Sundays. So, of course, we wanted to “go to church” while we were on the cruise. Every Sunday there was one Protestant service, listed in the “When and Where” as “congregation-led.” The Roman Catholics got a priest to lead a daily service but the Protestants are expected to lead their own.
Tom and I weren’t able to go to church the first two Sundays on our cruise. One Sunday we were having a lifeboat drill and the next we were on a shore excursion. Finally, the third Sunday, we attended the congregation-led Protestant service.
About 70 people came to the worship service. One man led the unaccompanied singing, choosing several familiar hymns. We only had about 30 hymnals but people shared. Then a retired Baptist pastor said “a few words.” His text was John 10:10: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Unfortunately his few words went on and on and I totally lost track of what he was saying.
After he was done, another retired pastor felt “moved” to speak and pulled out some notes from his pocket. His few words were, actually, few and helpful. He encouraged us to see the beauty of creation and the blessings of God in all things.
At the beginning of the service the song-leader asked if anyone in the congregation was a retired pastor. I raised my hand. So, at the end of the service they asked me if I would lead the congregation in prayer. I am always willing to pray! I tied both the messages together, prayed for all of us as we prepared to return to “real life” and led everyone in the Lord’s Prayer. Then I gave a benediction and we were done.
Just like in a church, people stayed around to talk a little bit after the service. Tom helped put some chairs away (always the good pastor’s spouse). Several people thanked me for the prayer and leading in the Lord’s Prayer. It reminded me how genuinely appreciative most people are of the effort worship leaders put in every week. The service also reminded me how important it is that pastors measure their words.
Attending the Protestant service on the Eurodam was a good experience. We may have been strangers who will never see each other again, but for a moment we were all sisters and brothers in Christ. Able to worship wherever we are.