A Somehow Typical Sunday

It’s so typical, but then again, it’s so special. We’re not a big group of people and we don’t expect much of a larger one to show, but at the same time there’s an inescapable electricity and expectancy in the air. For whatever random reason, the voice of Yoda coins a stern, but quiet proverb somewhere inside of me:

Size matters not, only Spirit.

And in as long as it has taken me to write this last paragraph, our group has doubled (well maybe, I didn’t actually count the original number) to twenty-five people, kids included. It’s now 9:06 and it’s my  job to open the service. Be right back!

Mm, worship! Jenelle and Jeanette are singing while both Paul and Bryan play acoustic accompaniment (did I mention that Jenelle is playing an african drum called a ‘djembe’ at the same time?).  For 20 minutes, we are treated to a transparent time of blended song and prayer (prayer fits into worship songs so perfectly!). It wasn’t one of those typical contemporary worship experiences marked by lots of lighting effects, surround sound, big screens, electric guitars, passion, emotion, and energy. No, this is different: it’s quiet, open, and vulnerable, yet not at all lacking in power or passion; not at all reserved. In fact, it’s quite emotional, speaking to something deeper in each of us, calling up some strong longings and expressing some well-rooted desires in us all as we stand together raising our hands to songs like “Our Great God,” “Hosanna,” and “Holy Fire” (in both English and Spanish!). I see so much of Cam and Jenelle reflecting in what’s happening here, it’s the type of worship that engages the head and heart so powerfully that it ever so slightly overwhelms you. I would be completely satisfied if this service ended now.

Size matters not, only Spirit.

Even so, as the final chords end and the last prayer is offered, the room is now near full (31 people in all), bless God! We’re probably about half the size of our Easter service, but the room is cozy and everything feels distinctly more familial today. Miss Andrea reads from Acts chapter 2 to continue the service and set the mood for brunch and the sermon. That’s right, brunch! When I got there that morning, a couple of tables were already lined up at the far side of the room next to a fairly large kitchen and Tiffany was making final preparations as people slowly added their dishes to the spread: breakfast burritos, crepes, bacon, ham, grapes, pastries, etc. After Randy comes forward to pray, we dismiss the children to go upstairs with Jenelle and Andrea while the adults line up to eat. As you can guess, the food is delectable! Not quite as good as the music beforehand though, and if you know me and my love of food, that’s saying something!

Pastor Cameron now gives a sharp talk on the story of the Holy Spirit and His story throughout scripture. Although it was about Him, the narrative never strayed away from us and our story, from the Garden of Eden, to the tabernacle and temple with the children of Israel, Jesus and the cross, then finally back to the Spirit descending upon the disciples in Acts 2. He’s been weaving our story into God’s and has made it quite clear that this is our story too, even without explicitly saying it. I’ve said before that good Christian art needs to show us something about God and remind us of who we are, and Cameron’s sermon is doing both remarkably today. At the conclusion of his sermon, we are treated to hearing the children come back and sing “Spirit of the Living God”  followed by Pastor Glenn sharing a short word about communion.

If you’ve never seen Glenn preach, all that I can say is that he’s a passion-packed shotgun of Gospel energy and every time I hear him speak, I’m moved by his sincerity and his unabashed confidence in both Christ’s victory on the cross and His power to change our lives here and now. Listening to him teach reminds me that I should believe more strongly in the power of God and makes me question why I don’t. The church needs more men like him, that’s why we don’t see any power among the people of God. He’d probably be flustered with me if he read this though, he hates limelight even more than I do, I think it’s because he knows himself better than I know myself. As he would say though, “All glory to God.”

We came forward to take communion afterwards, and several people received some particularly powerful and spirit-filled prayers from Glenn and Cam at the front of the room. Josiah and Diego, who are 4 and 5 years old, went from table to table collecting the offering in hand-woven boxes and the service ended with a singing of the Doxology and a blessing given by Pastor Cameron. A couple of people left immediately after, but for the majority of us, clean-up began. I love how such a big group of people can be such a family like we were. Conversations lingered and the worship band serenaded us with several more songs while everyone effortlessly enjoyed one another’s company. It felt like that morning hadn’t really ended yet as I went to the lake with Tiffany and Jesse and conversed with her into the middle of the afternoon. Even as I sit here typing after my extended nap this evening, it feels like I never left home today, or more accurately, like I never left my family.

Size matters not, only Spirit.

Indeed, Master Yoda.

2 responses to “A Somehow Typical Sunday

  1. Mike! I blessed by your concrete and gracious treatment of our Pentecost morning.

    I too was encouraged in Spirit. When people asked me how the day/service went, I let them know that it wasn’t flashy or large, but that I truly sensed God’s SPIRIT throughout. It a pleasure to share it with you brother.


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