I haven’t written about my worship experiences for a couple of weeks because 1) We went back to Linworth for the third time and 2) Worship was incidental to my Dad’s birthday party last week. But going to church on Sundays – worshipping with the Body of Christ – is extremely important to me, and we have been attending worship someplace every week.
Yesterday we went back to Linworth UMC for the fourth time! This is the most we have gone to any church besides Wedgewood in 22 years! On their information card which they ask everyone to fill out each week, they include a place to mark: 1st time visitor, 2nd time visitor 3rd time visitor, Regular attender. I’m not ready to mark Regular attender, but we have moved beyond the 3rd time visitor. I thought that Linworth would try to contact us in some way by now – we have been putting down our e-mail address, but we haven’t heard anything from them. John and Jackie say no one has tried to contact them either.
The first Sunday we went to Linworth, they started a series on the Beatitudes, and yesterday they finished the series. We heard Rev. Rae Lynn Schleif, the Senior Pastor, preach on the Beatitudes twice. The last two times we have been there, Pastor Eugene Folden, one of the Associate Pastors, has preached. We have really enjoyed all the messages. They have all had a strong sense of “this is what Jesus taught, this is what it means, and this is how we need to live it out in the world.” We leave inspired and ready to make a difference. Yesterday we were charged to be salt and light in the world.
Linworth celebrated the children who were graduating from one Sunday School class to another. Instead of naming each child, they had a few celebration minutes in the service, starting with the Praise Band playing “Hang On Sloopy” (we are in Columbus, after all). The youth and the children danced down the aisle and people clapped and cheered for the children. It was a lot of fun as we were reminded of the importance of raising up a child in faith.
We ended the service with communion by intinction (picking up a piece of bread and dunking it in the one cup) but they also had separate communion cups for people who didn’t want to dunk: no judgment, just an alternative. Most people chose dunking but several picked up a cup to carry back to the pew.
We have really enjoyed worshipping at Linworth. It is a very warm, open, and accepting congregation. They are involved in their community and in making a difference in the world. Worshipping with people like this is one of the reasons I love going to church on Sundays, because they are everywhere. People who love Jesus and are trying to live out their faith everyday surround us wherever we go. We are so blessed to know that the Church is not confined to one place and one group of people.