Last week I wrote about going to the Sunday morning service at Asbury United Methodist Church in Uniontown. The next week we started working on Sundays, so we went to the Sunday evening service at Asbury. And, I have to say, it was about as much fun as I’ve had in worship in years.
The Sunday evening service is mission of the Asbury church. Supper is served to the homeless in the area from 6 until 6:30. At 6:30 the worship service starts. I’m sure the homeless are invited to attend, but none of them stayed the first week we attended. Like many of these kinds of missions, the church people eat separately and worship separately from the people they serve.
The Sunday evening service is held in the Fellowship Hall. The service is the passion of the Director of Music, Bert Sesler. He started it and is the driving force behind it. Consequently the service has lots of music which is fine with us. But it was a little jarring at first. Bert plays the pipe organ upstairs even when the congregation is singing praise songs. So, in the Fellowship Hall, he sets up his keyboard and plays. The settings Bert uses makes it sound like a ballpark or roller rink organ. Tom calls it the Hammond Organ sound. The part of it that really made me laugh was the addition of the drum part.
At first I couldn’t sing because I was thrown back to my days skating at the roller rink while the Hammond Organ played. Talk about way back! After a while, however, I started enjoying how fun the music was and singing along. Bert played lots of my favorite praise songs, including “Mighty to Save” and “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” We had the most fun, however, singing “Soon and Very Soon.” Somehow the funky organ sound suited this song especially. The hardest thing for me was not clapping. No one else was clapping, so I sat on my hands. That may change the next time we go!
Pastor Don gave a message on forgiveness. The illustration he gave that really stuck with me is empty pockets. Every time we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, we are putting a rock into our pockets. After a while, who gets weighed down by our unforgiving spirit? We do! So we need to cut holes in our pockets to let the rocks out. When we forgive, because Christ has forgiven us, we feel lighter because we aren’t letting those rocks keep us down. Amen!
We closed the service with some prayers and one last praise song. After the Sunday evening service Tom and I stayed and talked to the other folks at worship. We talked to Bert and he told us how he does this service 50 Sundays a year. He even schedules his vacations so he can be back for the Sunday evening service. Bert and Don invited me to preach whenever I wanted and I will probably take them up on it.
We had a blast at the Sunday evening worship service at Asbury and can’t wait to go again. We will be regulars as long as we are here.