Visiting a Church

June 22 was my last Sunday at Wedgewood, even though I am working through tomorrow.  So this morning Tom and I did something we have only done when we were on vacation – visited a church.  We decided while we are in Ohio that we will visit some of our friends’ churches.  So today we went to Lakemore UMC.

Lakemore is only a couple of miles from Wedgewood and I have been to the church many times – for Mission Saturation events, Lenten Services, and meetings – but I have never been there on a Sunday morning.  The service started at 9:45 in the lovely, air-conditioned sanctuary.  The order of worship was different, with the offering immediately after the opening songs.  Tom and I had read in the bulletin about the “noisy offering” – on the 5th Sunday of the month they collect change for Open-M, so I dug some change out of my purse.  We dropped that in the offering plate, but it seemed like we were the only ones.  We found out why as soon as we sang the Doxology and said the prayer of dedication – the “noisy offering” was separate and collected by the children.  It was really fun to see all the kids with their cans and hear the noise as people dropped in change and a few dollars.  When they were finished, all the kids went up front and shook their cans – and it was noisy!

Rev. Jeff Gindlesberger

I enjoyed the blended service, with elements of traditional and contemporary worship.  The screen at the front was easily visible and had the words to all the songs as well as the names of the parts of the worship service.  The sermon was part of a series:  “Get a Grip,”  but was easy to follow even if you hadn’t heard any of the other sermons in the series.  Today the focus was on purity – living a holy life that is pleasing to God. Jeff Gindlesberger likened it to potty training – we don’t always get it right the first time we try, but there is celebrating in heaven when we live holy and in love with Jesus.  I worked hard on being a good listener – sometimes I get critical of sermons and think about how I would have done it differently.  Most of the people in the pews are much better at listening to sermons than I am, for which I will always be grateful.  But it was easy to listen to Jeff with his relaxed, conversational style.

Sue Atkinson gave the report from Annual Conference that made it sound much more interesting than I remember!  Michael Brown played the trumpet and was wonderful.  We finished the service with a hymn that I don’t remember ever singing before: “Nothing Between.”  It was a good hymn and I enjoyed singing something so unfamiliar and not having to listen to comments about it afterward.  After the service we talked to some folks we knew from years spent in the area and playing against Lakemore UMC in softball.  And then we left.

Some things that were different about visiting a church:

1.  Worshiping without being in charge of the service.  All I had to do was worship!

2.  No responsibilities before or after the service.  Tom felt the strangest about this – he is used to having something to do at church – having a purpose in going to worship besides worshiping.

3.  Getting up late, sitting together, and leaving as soon as worship was over.  We were out of there by 11:15 and home a few minutes later.  We read the paper, had a leisurely lunch, and then went for a bike ride (tomorrow’s post).  Could there have been more hours in today than there are in a usual Sunday?

It was good to be able to worship, just worship, on a Sunday morning.  Although it felt odd to be disconnected from folks we know and love, it felt good to be connected to God in this way.