We’ve discussed whether we should visit today’s church because we went there fifteen years ago. Although they have a different pastor now, we know many of the people, some from our prior involvement and some who we met more recently.
The pastor was out of the country, serving as a military chaplain; today is his first Sunday back after a three-month deployment. We delay our visit awaiting his return.
With snow-covered roads, our trek takes longer than expected and though we still arrive early, it’s not as early as I wish. People mill about; friends notice us and we chat. Others, surprised at our presence, do a double take, saying “Hi” or waving as they walk by. A surge of music from the sanctuary alerts us to sit down. Most already have. We end our conversation and scurry to find seats. Among the last to do so, our entrance is more visible than I prefer.
The service, progressive and comfortable, nicely corresponds with what I expected. Our worship time is enjoyable and the message, meaningful. It’s most pleasant but does little to expand the scope of our sojourn. They invite us to stay for coffee and cookies.
The minister greets us. He’s aware of our journey and after discussing it a bit, we head towards the snack table. But we never make it, as friends continue to approach us to reconnect. Though they keep us quite occupied, I’m still able to meet a few new people. As the crowd dwindles, we continue in conversation, being among the last to leave the building.
Today, we returned to a familiar place, enjoyed the company of long ago friends, and heard a message worthy of contemplation.
Sometimes familiar is good.