This weekend is the 2 year anniversary of “Traditions.”I have the privilege each week of serving as a “venue pastor” to this gathering of saints. We began this venue to provide a worship space on Sundays for those in our congregation who love the hymns, creeds, and a more traditional style of worship. Over the last three years I have come to love this community and the gathering we have each week.
There are about 100 who meet in the gym, Not exactly a traditional space, but that doesn’t really matter. We have a cross, light a candle to invite Christ’s presence, worship in music, scripture reading, prayer, and enjoy the teaching of gifted pastors via video from the room across the hall. Some might feel it is all to stiff, old-fashioned, “low energy” which may be in comparison to the other worship spaces. But I have come to love the space, the quiet, the people, and the power of knowing these same songs, creeds, and scripture have brought people of various centuries and circumstances before our unchanging God.
As you would expect, many who chose this worship experience are mature, both in age and in their spirituality. At 57, I certainly qualify in this category as well. There is a strength in the room that comes from these folks who know suffering, comprehend God’s faithfulness, know they are not in control, and have discovered the “peace that passes understanding.” Some who stood with us a year ago are now with the Lord. Their spouses are greeted and hugged each week, and memories are spoken of their beloved. We all miss their presence and that itself is a comfort.
We have lots of “aids” for walking, sitting. I had foot surgery a while back and my knee roller fit right in! All are reminders to me each week that we are weak, but these in these faces it is evident that He is strong. Almost every hymn ends with a verse that tells the hope of our future that is sure, secure when all is made right. Those verses are sung with gusto. For that future is the next season of life for many in our community.
But not everyone is old. I love the young people and families, though few in number, big in heart. They too love to celebrate the roots of our faith. And I know they draw strength from those who have gone before, both present with us and centuries earlier. For God is faithful, the same today as yesterday, and you sense it in our celebration and our reflection.
I think the best part of Sunday’s for me is right after the benediction when we sing the doxology together and I look out at the faces. We are a community who gather to proclaim, to love, to embrace truth and practice. And we send one another in praise of the God from whom all blessings flow.
Our gathering is such a blessing to me and I think to others. Three years ago I would not have guessed that I would enjoy this so much. I love all kinds of worship. But “Traditions” has become my place of solace from the pace and craziness of the rest of my week. And it’s people are my heroes as I watch them age with grace, continue to be faithful, and love one another, and God with all their hearts, souls and minds