Visiting Churches

How Does the Story End? (Visiting Church #48)

Today’s destination is next door to last week’s; they even share a common drive. We enter, sign the guest book, and head towards the music.

Standing just outside the sanctuary, Candy sees an acquaintance, who invites us to sit with her and her husband.

This is the third time on our journey we’ve experienced this visitor-friendly gesture.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

A self-supporting cross stands in the aisle. I wonder if it’s a regular fixture or something added for Lent. I appreciate the symbolism of a cross being at the center of the space and the focal point for all who enter.

Their pastor is out of town and the laity conducts the entire service, just as with our time at Church #29. I applaud their ability to fully lead a service on their own.

The result is a low-key, comfortable feel, lacking any hint of pretense or performance.

A man gives some announcements and then asks for more. Several people stand in turn to share news. Candy’s friend use this time to introduce us to the crowd. It’s a nice gesture, and many murmur their welcome.

Today’s scripture reading, from Luke 13:1-9, follows the Revised Common Lectionary for the third Sunday in Lent. We sing another song in preparation for the sermon, which the bulletin calls “reflections.”

Our speaker reads her message, delivering her words in an effortless manner that is easy to hear.

Referring to the fig tree in Jesus’ parable, she notes that “Christianity is a religion of second chances.” We don’t know what happened to the fig tree.

Did it eventually produce fruit or did the gardener uproot it? “The outcome is ours to choose”—both for this story and for ours.

[Read about Church #47 and Church #49, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #48.]

My wife and I visited a different Christian Church every Sunday for a year. This is our story. Get your copy of 52 Churches today, available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus 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.