This is the first Presidents Day I’ve had off in 21 years. It feels weird but at the same time, I’m ready to relax. Part of me just wants to sit and read, the other part of me wants to go out and enjoy the sun.
As I’ve had a busy work week, I may just sit and relax. This past week is a blur as it was action packed and went quickly. Thursday the staff served the 55+ attendees of our church. They all were touched and enjoyed the time together. Of course, they were suspicious of a hidden agenda and were still hesitant as they were waiting for the other shoe to fall. However, once they realized the ONLY agenda was for us to serve them and let them know they are loved, were they able to relax. Many have served our country and have given us the freedoms we enjoy today. Not all that we do during the weekend service is geared toward this group, as there is humor in the teaching, contemporary music with a band for worship and a very relaxed come as you are setting. Some that have grown up with a very traditional setting may find our church a huge change from their normal. Although we do sing worship songs (not always hymns), we do teach from the Bible and we do care for each other.
Starting in March, our church, as a whole, is doing a layered learning. The book we all are going to read and study in our small groups is The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels. It will be interesting to see how we, as a church, will grow by this study. I’m getting to the half way point of the book and I would definitely recommend this book! For the past 2 weekends we’ve been selling the books and participant guides at church. We’ll continue to sell for the next 1 or 2 weekends so everyone has a chance to purchase this book and start reading it. The weekend teachings will be complimentary to what is discussed in the book and DVD. The small group hubby and I belong to, is going to change our meeting times to every week in March, so we are in line with the weekend teaching. We normally meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. As we are a newly formed group (only a couple of months old) we take turns on where we meet. Thankfully, we all live within blocks of each other and can walk to and from.
On Friday, we had a memorial service for one of the ladies that I was blessed to know for just a short time. It was an interesting mix of people. Being a recovering Catholic, the traditional Catholicism and non-traditional Christianity collided. When I was a child, I went to a parochial school from Kindergarten through 6th grade. I was brought up to hold the priests in the highest esteem or on a pedestal. When I started going to my current church I was doing the same with our pastors. Once I joined the staff, I was having a hard time talking to them as I still had them up high. That is until one of them told me that I had to take them down a whole bunch of notches as we were a team and on the same level. There is still a respect for their position, however, they are still human! Sorry, I digress, so … at this service, our Comfort and Care Pastor lead the service in a way that only he could do. He was able to touch on all the emotions of everyone in the room. Of course, he is in charge of the Biblical Counseling Team and understands the grief process.
What I liked about this service, was that he initially gave everyone permission to feel whatever it was; pain, sorrow, anger, joy, laughter, tears … it didn’t matter, because it was a celebration of her life. With this celebration was going to come all these emotions and it was okay. To actually have someone up front say it was okay, seemed to relax everyone in order to remember this person.
Now mind you, half the auditorium was filled with people that went to our church, the other half was filled with people that went to a Catholic church. Why? Well, the daughter-in-law of this person was Catholic and her friends were there for support. It was quite interesting as I was sitting there and heard someone say, well, there’s Father so and so, we might as well have mass. I chuckled as I thought about how the priest feels about being in our church. Again, as I’m a recovering Catholic, I still have the mindset of priests being on that pedestal and doing no wrong. I know, I know … we all know what has been brought to the light by the news … but still, that is where some are … high above the rest of us.
After the service, I had to tell our pastor what a great job he did, as I had never been to a memorial service that he officiated. Then I went to the front to speak with the family and met the son and daughter-in-law. I told them what I thought of their sweet mother and then noticed a golden retriever sitting there. It was the priest’s dog and he was just getting ready to find a place to take the dog out to do her thing. So I escorted him out and across the parking lot to a field so he could take his dog off leash to run. While there we were talking about the history of how he acquired the dog and laughing at how his dog, if no one is available to watch her, will sit next to his chair during mass. It made me realize that this was a person. Even though he had his priest clothes on and had his priest demeanor … he was still a man who loved his dog. It was a great blessing I was given to take them off the pedestal and bring them down to human level.