The church meets in the all-purpose room of a local school. The atmosphere is casual, with people milling about, talking, sipping coffee, and munching snacks. With all ages represented, we see many kids present. Jeans and t-shirts abound.
A team of four (guitar, bass, drums, and vocals) lead the singing. As a special treat, three members of a ballet company worship with us in dance. Ballet and guitars strike me as a disparate pairing, but the result is beautiful, as they worship God with movement. Though some may disagree, dance belongs in church; it adds depth to our praise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For the past several weeks, we’ve seen traditionally dressed ministers give traditionally sounding sermons; I yearn for something fresh. Today’s pastor and message accomplish that, offering a much-appreciated reprieve from the tired routine. The pastor doesn’t stand on the stage behind a pulpit, but is on our level using a music stand. His style is accessible and calm. I feel at peace.
“Isn’t the story of Jesus’ birth absurd?” he dares to ask. This isn’t a rhetorical device or a rational denial, but a challenge to deeply consider all the Bible offers and the ramifications of its narrative. Instead of focusing on the familiar and skipping the confusing, he digs into the perplexing passages of the Bible – and encourages us to do the same. At the touch of his iPad, he displays the verses for us to read on the screen stationed to his right.
The kingdom of God starts now, today. He encourages us to ask tough questions about the Bible and God, inviting us to journey with them towards Jesus.
Afterwards we stay to talk about family and faith.
God provided what I needed today; he refreshed my soul.