Three significant actions stand out from church today:
One: “Let me tell you what to expect in our service.” A lady takes time to explain their worship style and reveals they take communion every week. “It’s an open communion.” I nod, glad to know. I ponder this question every time a church we visit serves communion – and seldom is the answer clear. “You may partake whenever you want…we don’t do it all together.” I nod again. No one in the past 46 weeks has told us what to expect. Her thoughtfulness makes so much sense.
We’ve had communion many times on our journey, but today is the first where I’m free to focus on the moment and don’t need to worry about the method. When format overshadows substance, meaning is lost. Today, I’m truly able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Two: Before the minister starts his sermon, he pauses to pray, turning his back to us to face the cross behind him. I appreciate the symbolism, reminding us that prayer is not an obligation to complete but a conversation with God.
Three: After the service a man introduces himself. I share our names and tell him about our sojourn. He asks, “How can I pray for you?”
I applaud his question. “You know…we’ve visited 46 churches and this is the first time someone’s asked us this – I really appreciate it.”
“And this is the first time I’ve asked.” We simultaneously acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit. “…and I’m going to start doing it more often.”
He thanks me for the encouragement, and my wife and I share a concern with him. I know he’ll pray for us, perhaps even as we head to our car.