It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm thinking back to last Sunday. I'm getting prepared, and making notes, and praying and resting.
And I'm thinking back to almost a week ago.
The morning began with 8:30 Bible study. We've been watching videos and having discussions all summer, and we had planned to begin a new study this week, but the materials didn't arrive in time. So I did a "low-tech", old-fashioned Bible study. The theme was children in the Bible. We discussed Isaac and Miriam, Samuel (before he was a judge) and David (before he was a king). We did not get through the whole list, but we learned a little about the gifts and the stories of the children in the Bible.
I suppose I coud lament the small number of participants (there were only about 8 of us) but what I remember is this: one man said, at the close, "You can do this any time you want. This was very interesting."
Good old low-tech, old-fashioned Bible study. I love it.
At worship, we had to tell the congregation that we were behind on our budget, due to a few factors (at least one of them a hurricane which canceled worship). Our speaker was gracious and reminded us that the reason we give is to share the mission of Grace. We honored one of our college students with a scholarship. The children tried to figure out how big the love of God was (hint: bigger than 70 X 7. Bigger than a HUGE container of M&Ms).
I remember seeing a dad and daughter that I hadn't seen for several weeks. They are regular visitors, but hadn't been at worship lately. Also a young woman and her little son came and sat right up in the front, where she smiled at me during the whole service. I smiled back. For the longest time I thought they were first-time visitors, and then, at the end, I discovered that they were part of a family who had moved away. They were moving back!
For the past several weeks we have had a mysterious visitor. We only know his first name. He comes and sits in the back and says gracious words to us at the end of every service. Several people have spoken to him and welcomed him. For some reason, he has become a sign of grace to me.
After worship, we held acolyte training for three young people. We haven't had acolytes here for awhile, so it was great to teach them how to light the candles and help with worship. They are getting to be friends.
And after that, when I went over to the fellowship hall, I had a wonderful conversation with a young woman who is getting married this winter.
First-time visitors were also there, which I consider to be an act of courage. It is harder to go into the fellowship hall with strangers than it is to worship with strangers! They were having a lively conversation with my husband and a couple of other people at the church. One thing I discovered: They had seen a short video I made on the morning of the hurricane. And, they said, that's why they showed up that morning.
Sunday morning is only a small sliver of the week, but for me it is the culmination of everything I do. And, sometimes, I'll admit it: I wonder if I should keep on doing it. Is this still my calling? And then, on Sunday morning, there were the kind words of strangers, the voices of the children, the people who just showed up, and sang, and prayed, and who I know will go back out.
What I know is that, somehow, I found a blessing on that morning. Or perhaps, a blessing found me.