A Patriotic Day (Visiting Church #12)
Next on our list is another United Methodist Church. Their website has a helpful “what to expect” section. Described as “a quaint, country church,” visitors may “come as you are.” The facility reminds me of the Methodist church we visited three weeks ago, as do the age of the attendees and the service style.
The children’s message has a patriotic theme about flags. We say the pledge to the American flag and then to the Christian flag.
For the offering they don’t pass the plates across the rows; it’s up to givers to get their donations to the ushers who walk up and down the aisles. The minister receives the collection, turns to the cross, and lifts up the donations, symbolically presenting then to God. Then she prays. I like her reverent style.
The patriotic theme continues with a message about the US Constitution. “Do you have a religious constitution?” “What does it cover?” She suggests several possibilities, concluding with the question, “Have you ratified your constitution?”
Communion follows, open to all. The minister lifts the bread and then the juice to God, presents them to the congregation, and prays over the elements. We go up by row to partake as the congregation sings. The server hands us the bread and we dip it into the juice. We sing “God Bless America” to conclude the service.
Refreshments follow; many people encourage us to stay. We gladly do, enjoying the chance to meet others.
The minister introduces herself. Today she’s wearing a simple, yet elegant white robe, something she reserves for special occasions. She says they have different service styles throughout the month, with varying instrumentation and song selection. To fully experience their worship, we’ll need to come back the next four weeks.
We leave this Methodist Church well fed, both spiritually and physically.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.