I reminisced this morning about the last church I served before retiring… and I wanted to share this with you again.
It went something like this: This morning as I stepped into the pulpit a smile came into my heart because I knew I was back home. You know when I noticed that smile?
I noticed it when I started the opening prayers this morning and I felt God’s love inside and your love around me… I really do mean it when I thank God for this sacred space we gather in every week… it means a great deal to each one of us in our own way.
I noticed it when we sang the first hymn and the words spoke directly to my sermon.
I noticed it when Beverly played the prelude. She puts her heart and soul, her spirit into the personal interpretation of the music she selects and offers to lift our spirits to God. As usual, this morning she lifted my soul.
I noticed that smile in my heart when I gathered the children around me and they smiled and we shared something very special. For a few moments that old grandfather up front was given the privilege to speak with the children about Jesus, to see their smiles close-up, and be blessed by them.
I noticed that smile in my heart when I read scripture. What a special time for all of us as we hear God’s Word read out loud for all to hear… for we learn by the hearing of that word. And I was honored to be able to read that Word.
I noticed that smile in my heart when, during the beginning of our prayer time, I mentioned that I had been at Conference all week and had not seen anyone, so how are you doing? That was such a special and sacred moment for me as we shared how we are doing together. It is indeed an honor to be able to speak to God about those in my care. I had to smile because God was smiling.
I noticed that smile in my heart as the choir sang the anthem. I know they do not see their singing as a performance but as an offering of praise to God. I smiled because they give it their all, do their best, and offer it with grace. Plus… it is always beautiful.
I noticed that smile in my heart as I began my sermon. It is hard to believe that people will gather to hear someone talk about a shepherd boy and a giant doing battle. What in the world could that have to do with the church family at Pine Grove? Today you listened for that word from God in which God said I am with you in every battle you face, and, by the way, I have already won the war. Thank you for listening and expecting me to speak a word from God that will have meaning for your life. Thank you for that trust. Yes, there is a smile in my heart because I love being back home with you. Thank you for being my family.
Grace and Peace