Well, the day is only half over, but I'll be getting home pretty late tonight, so I want to write now while my head is still fairly clear.
I'm still in the hotel, and I've just said the last of my good-byes. I truly wish I had more time with these people. I would love to see what would happen if we had another few days to hang out and start throwing around song ideas. I'm ready to work now, and that's always an exciting place to be.
This morning, Jennifer, Linisa, and I went to church at First Baptist Church Harvester. This is where the workshop was held. It's huge contemporary building. They have 3 morning services and one evening service. They also have a preschool ministry. I don't really know what that is, but it sounds intriguing. The earlier service was traditional, and I think I would have liked the music at that one cause they sing out of the Baptist hymnal. The one we attended was a contemporary worship, using a praise team and song leader. They were really great, and added a lot of energy to a tired morning. Also, Chad Cates, from WAJ, did a song, and that was a wonderful thing to hear.
This church is doing a special series right now called Living Life On Mission, and it's incorporated into their music, preaching, and outreach efforts. Today's sermon was about "giving away", meaning to give the message of the Gospel, but also to give of ourselves to others, to the community, and to each other. The pastor was a really engaging speaker, with a comfortable and humourous style.
There was something else about the service. It started with the baptizing of three young girls, and it was the full-dunking kind of baptism! They had a place above crowd, right at the front, where they did it, and they had a video camera in the booth (by the pool? I don't know the right terminology!) so you could see it happening. We baptize children and sometimes adults in the Anglican tradition, but still, it's mostly babies. And even then, it's just with water on the head. It was really neat to see this kind of baptism in person. And a little funny to see them all react to how cold the water was!
You know, I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a woman who seemed very uncomfortable when I told her I like to visit other churches of different denominations. She and I were not of the same denomination, so I still don't really know why it would strike her in such a strange way. Does she think it's wrong? I think we should visit other churches, especially when we travel. I think it's interesting to see the things we do differently, but it's even more important to see the things we have in common. After all, we're all Christians, and it's all the same God, all the same Jesus. I think we can get very locked in "our" worship, and we get in this strange place of judging other forms of worship as "wrong". What a destructive point of view! How many churches are struggling to survive in our growing cities, and in our generally secular society? Do we really need to be fighting against ourselves as well?
Whoa, that's my sermon for the morning!
I'm flying back this afternoon. I still have a few more hours. Not enough to actually go and do anything. I'm going to spend a bit of quiet time going over the events of the weekend, have a leisurely lunch, fly home, and hug my family.
Sounds like a good day to me.