CHURCH VISIT # 9:
Church visit # 9 took place on 24 September 2006, during a trip back to our "hometown." We visited the church at which we were married almost 33 years ago.
This was a great visit, not just because it was nostalgic. The sanctuary in which we exchanged vows back in 1973 burned down in 1993. The new sanctuary is very much like the previous one, with only a few subtle changes to the style and size. The rest of the church campus is much expanded and improved.
I believe this church must have close to 2,000 regular attenders. The sanctuary seats at least 1,000, and they have two identical services each Sunday morning.
We were very blessed by the service. The flow was close to perfect. The music was excellent; a seamless blend of "traditional" and modern songs. The sermon may well have been the best sermon I have ever heard. It certainly ranked among the most memorable and most relevant and most challenging. The key point was the difference between "commitment" and "surrender," the idea being that, while we value commitment very highly, it still allows us to be in control. What scripture calls us to is SURRENDER. It is relatively easy to be committed to our own plans and our own way of interpreting things. It is quite another matter to surrender ourselves utterly to God's plan for our lives.
The people of this church were warm, friendly, delightful. Although we could tell that most of the hundreds of people there would not (could not) have known whether we were visiting for the first time or had been members for forty years, we were nevertheless greeted by several who clearly knew that - at the very least - they did not recognize us as regular attenders.
The obligatory letter was waiting for us in our stack of mail when we got back home. It even featured a "wet" signature from the pastor.
All in all, this was a delightful visit. I am sure that if we lived in our "hometown" we would seriously consider making this church our "home" church.