Sunday, February 13, 2005

on going home again

This weekend was unusual, but good nonetheless. Most often we are here, in Charlotte, preparing for the services. Sometimes there is also a wedding and a rehearsal. Sometimes there is a basketball game or two, our daughter playing, her parents watching and cheering. The last portion of a sermon takes form, parts of it cut out, for the sake of time, and the realization that not everything needs to be said every Sunday. Sunday morning begins very early, and often there are two opportunities to preach and one to teach. It is a full day, very interractive: someone reports an illness, or shares a cause for celebration, or gives feedback. Almost immediately I am thrust into the priorities of the coming week: a meeting in which an important decision will be made, or the coming sermon, which looms just over the horizon.

This weekend was very different. We traveled to Lake Junaluska, had lunch with friends, checked on our mountain cabin, to see if it was surviving the winter. We then woke up early Saturday morning, and traveled on I-40 to Greensboro, almost exactly three hours, where we took part in a retreat at Saint Timothy's. We had the good fortune to help in the beginning of that congregation. Many of the people there are very special to us. That evening we had a potluck dinner with a large number of friends we don't get to see all that often.

I am grateful to Jill, their pastor, who invited us back. It was an opening to renew friendships, an opportunity to see what God is still doing there, to meet people, very active members of that congregation, whom we had never known, and to worship in a different way. I preached from John 3, and talked about the mission of that church, a new church, and the rebirth of people. It was a rebirth for us, in many ways, and a rekindling of something within me (2 Timothy 1). Being there was a gift, like going home again.


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