Monday, January 9, 2012

Plodder goes to church, off the reservation

That would be not only off the Southern Baptist reservation (already done that at an independent Baptist a few weeks ago) but off the Baptist reservation.

We attended a Presbyterian church yesterday where a friend of mine is pastoring. I'm thinking that it has been many decades since I attended Sunday morning worship in a non-Baptist church. My wife, perhaps never. So far, I have not noticed any ill effects but one never knows, perhaps they are latent and show themselves in time.

Actually, I knew from conversations that my Presby colleague loved Jesus, was serious about Scripture, and was theologically conservative. He preached about thirty minutes, was passionate about the subject and text, and serious in his intent to apply Scripture for the benefit of his congregation.

I think he had a full manuscript and mostly read it. It was worth reading and read well.

I have an Episcopalian relative who occasionally reminds me that his church uses Scripture more in worship than we Baptists, a point I don't contest. So did the Presbys, with several readings.

How about a corporate Prayer of Confession?
Forgive us, O God, for our lack of understanding of the Gospel. Forgive us when we make it more difficult that it really is...arguing over details which matter little, dividing over issues of insignificance. Forgive us also, when we make the Gospel easier that it really is...
My pastor friend was on target with this one.

What? No music leader?

You mean that a church can sing hymns without someone up front waving their arms and leading?

Guess so.

We did sing the Doxology at a breathless pace, faster than I had ever experienced it. The ushers had to step quickly to get the offering to the front before the congregation finished singing the Doxology.

The church did have an excellent pianist who also doubled as choir director...but no music leader.

Folks were friendly. No one said we were sitting in their pew. Several people spoke to us even outside of the canned greeting time where it doesn't count.

We enjoyed it.


Tom Bryant said...

In reading you blog since you left the pastorate, I think you're enjoying your retirement and the freedom that it has brought to you. I'm envious... it'll be a few more years for me!

William Thornton said...

I have looked forward to doing this for some time, Tom, but I do miss preaching on Sunday.

...then there's that question about where the fisbait money will come from in retirment, since I get no more paychecks.

Stephen Fox said...

I noticed the Prez USA church in Gaffney is gonna hold two Weds might presentations on Faith and Politics by a visiting Davidson Grad. So Presby's do good and timely things on occasion.
Frank Harrington was one of the greatest preachers to ever set foot in Georgia, a Presbyterian

Gary said...

Back when I did 'church' full-time, I ended up without a Pastor in a small town. The Methodist preacher and I were the marry 'em and bury 'em team. Stan had some of the absolutely best written prayers, and many of them better than off-the-cuff versions. I'm getting pretty bad off-the-cuff these days myself. Mouth runs faster than the brain.

I had a shoulder repaired in May, and when I got back to 'leading', I mostly just sang and let them follow the pianist, which is what they did before anyway. I've gotten to where I'll throw an arm up to make a point, slow them down or warn them of something. In my case, less waving is better.

Almost went to a Presbyterian funeral this week, but my friend surprised us all and lived instead. I'm going to visit him this afternoon in my hometown and I hope that he's gone home (the house) by the time I get there. [note: either way is good - he's one of us saved-types]

God is very good, even when we don't deserve it.