This morning I was able to worship at my home church. I'm so glad I got myself over there; last night's snowfall made the prospect of staying home an extremely tempting one.
Some of the highlights:
Sitting between and talking with two friends with whom I've worked many times, one a middle school band teacher and the other a big-firm attorney, both of them men passionately committed to the mission of the church;
A lively and moving rendition of the spiritual Ride the Chariot by the men of the choir, with a spectacular solo by a high school senior;
A dynamite sermon by our senior pastor on Acts 19: 23-28,* urging us to remember the both-and-ness of our call: to live on the margins and to draw others to the center, and to be disturbed indeed about issues of justice and inclusion;
A terrific offering anthem described in the bulletin as a dithyramb, a wild passionate Indian hymn using just one syllable to express uninhibited festivity on this last Sunday before Lent;
More conversations after church with friends whom I seldom see these days.
Look at those adjectives I used: lively, moving, spectacular, dynamite, terrific. It was wonderful to worship without leadership responsibility in a service that was so filled with energy and variety and community.
*We are off-lectionary these days, as the adult education classes are studying the Book of Acts, in part because it was just a good idea and in part because a group is leaving for Turkey in a few weeks. Our pastors committed themselves to a preaching schedule that both accompanies the study and gives us all a taste of the texts that relate to the pilgrimage, which will trace some of Paul's steps.
Image: The Great Theatre at Ephesus, here, where the great riot against Paul took place
and where I am not going anytime soon.