Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It Takes a Congregation

Sometimes you just get lucky.

Sunday was like that.  You can go for months with people just shaking your hand and saying "Good sermon, Pastor" (or, perhaps, "Good pastor, sermon), not know whether or how the Holy Spirit was working through the worship service and the sermon.  Actually, it's usually like that.  You just have to trust God.  And that's good.

But sometimes, you get just a little glimpse.

Sunday was like that.

For my sermon on being salt and light, I had quite impetutously gone to the grocery store and gotten a butt-load (the technical term) of tiny birthday candles and little packets of salt.  I wanted people to have something to take home with them.

Two young men were visiting their grandfather on Sunday.  On the way out of church, one of them said, quite gravely, "those packets of salt were a good idea."

At 10:00 there was a sound system malfunction at the very end of my sermon.  We started getting broadcasting from a local Christian radio station.  I'm not sure I was quite unflappable, but I did manage to have some sort of an ending.  People made sure that I knew that they liked everything about the worship service:  the children's message, the sermon, "even the interruption."  Maybe there's something about having the unexpected occur that is refreshing.  It reminds us that God is in the interruptions and the unexpected, when things don't go as planned.  I'm not making an argument for chaos in worship, but perhaps for leaving room for the Holy Spirit.

Today I was having coffee and banana bread with a group of parish members.  One of them said that she has her little candle and salt packet in the middle of her table, and tells everyone who visits about them.

Then she wanted to let me know something she witnessed in church on Sunday.  At the sharing of the peace, she turned to speak to a young boy who usually sits in back of her.  She overheard the older man who sat next to him say this, "You are salt and light to your classmates."

It takes a congregation to share the gospel.


Fran said...

Ah, fantastic! The essence of our faith is, well... faith in community!It does take a congregation, doesn't it?

What a lovely image - the salt packets and the candles. Diane, I really love this.

And that you said buttload! Heehee, you made me smile with that one.

Terri said...

Awesome! Making room for the Holy Spirit to do something with chaos...God will anyway, do something with the chaos, but we are helped when we let go and let God....(love the salt packet and candles...)

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I am very visually orientated. I've found that I need something visual to help remember a sermon's point or content. This can be a visual metaphore, something described by the pastor. Sometimes, actually usually, even the best sermon points flee from my brain !

In this case you provided not only a visual cue, but something that they touched and also took with them!