My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Resurrection Sunday

It was 6:10 am as I sat down in the back row at my brother and sister-in-law's church Easter Sunday morning. It had been quite an ordeal getting everyone ready and there even close to "on time". Abby lost a shoe, Austin couldn't find his church shirt, etc. When I woke my 6 year old up he said, rather gruffly, "What are we doin'?"

"We are going to chuch honey. Remember?"

"This is crazy. It's still dark outside. God's not up yet."

Hmmm... point taken. hehehehe

We all shuffled into the over 100 year old building, sat down in the back row and began singing along with the hymns. Several things struck me, the chief being the timelessness of Sunday morning Easter services. Everybody is in their "best", little girls hair is curled, flowers poking out of buns, little white gloves on some of them. The boys shuffling and pulling on ties, the women breathing shallow because of girdles and being self-concious as the first of spring dresses show their winter "stores". The men, some still vaugely sleeping, trying to be interested, some obviously moved by the importance of the day, the teens looking for counterparts through sideways glances and blushing cheeks as one and all try to keep their minds on the sermon.

I tried to picture the church 100 years ago. About 1907, in this farming community there would have been horses and wagons hitched and waiting on the post that still stands there for the job. Our cars waited and steamed after being driven just as the horses sides would have been heaving from their work. There was a cold draft at our feet in this old building just like there would have been 100 years ago. I pictured a wood stove in the corner pumping out heat while the older folks and babies were seated closest to it. The thermostat was mounted on the wall taking it's place, doing the same thing. I saw the preacher, then in the formal "preaching" clothes of a Methodist minister, now in a suit and tie. Different, yet the same. I saw the wooden cross that had been erected in the front yard for the occasion, which wore a purple drape of fabric on Friday, now cloaked in shining white. The belfry stood shiny white in the backdrop - the same as it had 100 years ago. The wooden pews and stained glass windows were shiny then as now, and an obvious pride in their community and their faith was on all their faces. I began to take note of the year the hymns were written, and I saw that most of them were "new" 100 years ago but were obviously classics immediately as their message spoke so eloquently of the Cross and it's work.

I watched as the mother in front of me tried to quietly evoke a smile out of her 3 year old as he reeeeally wanted to go to the bathroom or some such thing. Anything to get him out of that hard pew for a moment. She succeeed, as countless mothers have in years past. I saw an older man reach for his wife's hand during a special song, The Lord's prayer was recited, prayer requests and updates of people in the community were shared and prayed over. The same. Just the same.

There is a timelessness to the Gospel that continually amazes me. It's easy to see that basically, it has remained unchanged throughout the centuries. The message is still the same at it's core. Theologically speaking nothing has changed. The Cross is still the Gospel. But it is amazing to me too that the method of the message, at the heart is still the same as well in some churches. Community, caring, pulling together, formalities that may or may not have anything to do with pleasing God come into play ~ dependent on the culture of the people worshipping together. It amazed and humbled me to realize - to really take in and accept, that we are worshipping today much the same as the 1st century believers did. Based on community and local culture, all done through their very real faith and love of God. I could tell, then as now, that if one of those people needed anything, anytime, that group of believers would be there. Quietly, inobtrusively, they would be there for each other.
That sack of groceries would show up just in time with a note saying "God loves you." and be otherwise unsigned. The house that was hit by a tornado would be quickly covered by tarps and immediate needs of food and shelter met. The hard-working and until now self-sufficient old farmer down the road that had heart surgery last week would have his cattle fed without anyone injuring his pride by making a big "project" out of it. The new baby born a few days back would recieve gifts of blankets and rattles and tiny hair brushes. The new mother would find several casseroles on her countertop after the visiting ladies left the house. The newly widowed woman that lives next door to the church would recieve phone calls when she would rather not talk to anyone, all in the name of love. Of community, of Christ. And she would feel better. Comforted. Not alone.
Isn't that the message of the Cross? I think so.
I think so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your Easter Sunday.

12:22 PM  

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