Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sunday Morning in the South
Today was the perfect “Sunday in the South.” I woke up at 9:45 and got in the shower, when I got out Tyler had already took the doggies to potty, made coffee, and was so excited for me to go outside. He said, “Just step out there. “ So I went outside while he was in the shower, and was immediately hit by the most refreshing, crisp, frigid air!! It was a small taste of “Fall,” and enough to make me jump for joy!! I closed my eyes and stood there for a good five minutes, in my bathrobe with my coffee, warm and cozy in my hand. I just breathed the air and took in the noises of the birds and the leaves rustling beside the house. It was a perfect beginning to the day. We go down the street to a church called “First United Methodist.” Now, usually I am Southern Baptist but we have been visiting this lovely church for a while now, and we just can’t bring ourselves to leave a Sunday to try another church down the road.
This morning at church began like every other Sunday Morning….two little children came from each side of the isle to light the two candles in the front of the church as the choir comes in (in matching robes) to take their places. The piano player plays “All Creatures of Our God and King” and let me just say that the piano lady is fantastic. That lady can tear a piano up! So we go through the service as normal, the “Call to Worship,” the Invocation”, the “Hymn of Praise”, the “Apostles’ Creed”, and so on.
Then the best part of the service comes……after every offering the church sings “Doxology #95” which most of you know as “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow” well, while this is also good….it symbolizes the choir’s preparation for their song. And those of you, who know me, KNOW I love me some choir music! The choir director is pretty intense, he is serious about his job and he is quite funny to watch. The choir stands and holds their little black books and begins to sing “Hymn of Mercy.” I cannot explain to you the feeling. I am sure part of it was the thirty plus organ pipes in the front of the church, or maybe it was the guy playing the flute in the background, probably part of it was also the epic columns with beautiful scrolling around the top, and the two enormous, beautiful red banners hanging on each side of the pulpit. One banner with “Alpha and Omega” symbols, and the other with Flames, woven with red, blue, and gold ribbons. The song was flowing, the sopranos were high, the basses were low, the tenors and altos were exactly where they were supposed to be…..I felt like the Phantom of the Opera as he stands under the stage when Christine sings her first debut as he holds his hands out, closes his eyes and just takes it all in while the music swirls around him. This is all quite overwhelming by itself, but the 11:00 morning sun comes through the stained glass windows that go from the floor to the forty foot high ceilings that are also scrolled and decorated. These windows can't be explained any other way than majestic! The sun comes in while reflecting off the swirls of yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple; it gives the whole church a beautiful glow…..a color that I cannot describe. The church was so warm, and inviting, and soothing. I was completely taken over by this music and the harmony that was carrying on in front of me. You know the part in the movie “Beauty and the Beast” when he swirls her around the ballroom and the music gets really loud and just makes you feel all fuzzy inside??? We’ll that part is almost as good as this overwhelming feeling that flew on me today.
After the music was over and the color had faded from the windows, the Pastor got up to speak. His sermon was entitled “Walk with Confidence.” He formed it from Ephesians 6: 10-18
“10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
Needless to say, I was pumped and ready to take on the world when I left. After that, we took the dogs for a walk in the lovely crisp air and sunshine…..then went to Juliana and Thiago’s house for some yummy food! It was just a perfect Sunday.