Today’s readings: Psalm 122, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Luke 20:1-8
For the past couple of days I have taken a bit of vacation. I didn’t do anything really spectacular…in fact it was more of a Staycation. On Wednesday I slept in, puttered around, read a lot, went to the gym and just was. On Thursday I went to Thanksgiving with my family which was lovely. Friday I went to the gym and then went wine tasting with friends. Saturday I caught up with other friends and then Sunday came the moment of truth. Would I go to church?
I decided I really wanted to go to church. Some of my friends called me a nerd because who really, if they work at a church, goes to church on their one Sunday morning off? But I wanted to because I wanted to worship without any leadership role. I wanted to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. I wanted a new experience to remind me why I started this process…its always good to do that. I started to research churches in Portland. I figured if I started in Portland I could play after church. So a willing young adult started seeking for someplace with other young adults to worship, a place that was progressive, a place that seemed open and welcome, a place where I could find God, and a place that would be fun as well as have an experience. Did you know that this task is harder than it looks? There is not much out there that would draw me in! This could be because McMinnville Cooperative Ministries has spoiled me. In fact, I thought, before this if I was going to check out a church I would have gone to the CoOp!
I continued to scroll through websites. I glanced where other of my friends go. I put it out on facebook although my facebook friends weren’t that helpful (you all said either the CoOp or churches in Europe!). I looked at churches that met in pubs, in schools, downtown and out in neighborhoods. I looked for theology and worship schedules and who was on staff. I looked for some sign of good news and worship space. This was quite an interesting experience!
I decided to pick a church where a friend of mine is the preacher. I wanted to hear her preach as well as hang out with her after. I had also wanted to see the church. I ended up at Fremont United Methodist Church. It was a sweet service and I did know some people when I walked in. It was a first Sunday of Advent service that fit my needs and people were extremely friendly. I felt welcomed for sure. In fact, almost too welcomed as I was introduced as “reverend” during the joys and concerns time. There goes trying to blend in for a Sunday! 🙂
And then Pastor Wendy started her sermon with “You know, I wasn’t ready for Advent until the organ prelude….” I knew she was right. I wasn’t ready to really be there until I heard Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus played as the very first thing in worship. I wasn’t ready for Advent…even through all of my searching until I heard music that would bring me there. I wasn’t ready to wait. I wasn’t ready for talking about the wait. I wasn’t ready for the centering to come until I was in it.
Paul’s letter to Thessolonica is a call to thankfulness, prayer and waiting for Jesus. Paul opens his letter with sheer gratitude for people who answer the call this season. We are called to make this journey with one another this season. May you find what you are searching for but also respond to the music. May you hear the first sweet notes of the season and take a deep breath in it.
O God of waiting and of sweet song, we ask that you bless us this morning with the peace and patience to be with you. We ask that you put aside our anxieties and our worries, our frustrations and busyness to see a glimpse of what it means to be blessed with a call to follow. Thank you for season. Amen.