It was just another normal Sunday in October: on Saturday morning, it suddenly became autumn, the temperature dipping below freezing. There was just enough snow to get the dog all excited, but it was gone by the evening. On Sunday, I noticed a curb full of leaves. We sang the hymn "Sing to the Lord of Harvest" this morning: part of our month-long Stewardship Emphasis.
One of our senior high students gave the "Stewardship Talk" this morning. I asked her if I could reprint her message here, but it turns out that she spoke virtually without notes, on the subject of stewardship, and on the mission trip this summer. She spoke about the ice cream she desperately wanted one evening, and the autistic boy who managed to communicate to her that he wanted ice cream as well, and how she decided to use the $5 for him rather than for herself. She talked about stewardship as the choices we make, and the lessons her parents have taught her, and about giving as "stimulating our faith economy." (I loved that little phrase.)
The Sunday School Children sang: "What can One Small person Do?"
At ten o'clock there was a baptism, an almost one-year-old girl who slept in her mother's arms throughout most of the baptism, even though the water was cold, if I do say so myself. She sleepily opened her eyes as the pastor showed her the candle and said, "Let your light so shine before others.... so that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." Then she leaned back on her mother's shoulder.
Her big brother, four years old, was standing right underneath her, and watched her face in wonder and delight during the baptism. He looked positively entranced; he couldn't take his eyes off of her, almost proud, it seemed, of his little sister. Watching his face, I was aware that this was a view that only the worship assistant and I could glimpse.
I saw a family that I hadn't seen in several years at church this morning. I still remembered their names.
And I spoke with someone who is familiar with my blog, and has good things to say about my writing. If only my preaching could be as powerful as my writing. That is one thing what I'm musing about this evening.
And, do you think better preaching can transform a congregation?