This morning Tom and I attended worship at Church of the Cross United Methodist in Lexington. Church of the Cross is where I grew up and it is where Tom and I were married. My parents are members of the church, so it was a joy to be able to attend worship with them.
Church of the Cross has an unusual way of doing worship. Several years ago, when they were thinking about adding a contemporary service, they decided to try a three-part worship service instead. The first half hour is traditional, the second half hour is mixed, and the third half hour is contemporary. People choose to attend either the first and second parts or the second and third parts of worship.
What is strangest about this set-up to me is that the sermon is preached twice. I could understand having this kind of worship if the sermon was in the middle, so the preacher was preaching to the entire congregation at once, but it seemed very strange to have it in the first and third parts of worship. Another strange thing was the lack of benediction or formal sending at the end of the first hour of worship, which is when the vast majority of the congregation left. After the Children’s Time, about 150 people just got up and left. Those that remained moved up to the front of the sanctuary for the last part of worship. Of course, the 150 are supposed to leave quietly, but it is the end of worship for them and they were eager to greet people. There was, however, no line where the pastor talked to people as they left, and it was very crowded and noisy getting to the exit of the church.
Aside from the unusual order of worship, the service at Church of the Cross was nice. There was some wonderful special music from a saxophonist and a pianist that had an upbeat, jazzy feel. The sermon was “True Spirituality: What Is It and How Do I Get It?” delivered by Rev. Glenn Hamilton. Rev. Hamilton was new to the church in July and seems to be doing well in his new appointment. What is true spirituality? Doing everything for the glory of God, a passion to know, love, and please God. How do we get it? By allowing ourselves to meet Jesus and be changed by him.