Sunday mornings I try to get to church by about 8:00, just to make sure everything is ready for worship, and to have a little time with folks beforehand. This past Sunday I was particularly grateful to be here.
We were giving our third graders their own Bibles, and baptizing baby girl, and receiving what we hoped would be a great number of pledge cards for our annual finance campaign. We were celebrating Thanksgiving Sunday and the Reign of Christ Sunday, and it felt like there was a lot happening in worship. What I didn’t realize until I arrived here just how much was happening here all day!
About 9:30 I strolled down to Collins Hall and found myself just wanting to stop and listen along the way. Starting in the Sanctuary, I heard JuBELLation practicing, followed by the Chancel Choir. Then, as I made my way down the hall, I heard someone making beautiful music on the piano in one of the Sunday School rooms. Next I heard a couple of adults getting supplies ready for their morning class. Then, I heard the Cherub Choir practicing for the morning’s Introit, and someone getting help finding just the right book in our library. I heard a lively discussion among adults in the Changing Christianity class, and someone inquiring about where to leave the kitchen utensils they were donating for those less fortunate.
By the time I made it to Collins Hall I was already grateful for the energy and vitality of First Church. And my feelings only increased as I heard a table full of youth doing theology together, and the coffee hour crew setting up, and the Missions Committee making lunch for the day’s Forum on Palestine and Israel!
When worship began my heart was full of gratitude for this vital congregation, this “beloved community” of believers. I continue to be grateful and I feel honored to be a part of the ministries we share here at Portland’s first church! Who knows what I might hear next Sunday … or for that matter, Monday through Saturday … as we continue to share God’s love and offer Christ’s peace to one another and our larger community? Who knows what I might hear… I hope I might hear you!