Many of you were there on Sunday to hear our incredible choir, plus Anne Daniel and guest musicians, bring us a real treat. With pieces by Mozart and Haydn, they made our spirits soar… or at least, I’ll speak for myself – my spirit certainly soared on their musical wings!
But there were two more treats for us on Sunday – one sweet and one sad. The sweet one was welcoming 4 new members and baptizing one – right in the middle of the community! That is, because of our busy Sunday, we had to place the baptismal font right in between the choir as they sat in the chancel and the children who were sitting on the steps.
The sad part of the service came at the end, when we said farewell to two beloved members, Brad Hestir and Jean Norris, and sang “God be with you til we meet again.” I know I speak for more than myself when I say this part of the service was moving, even to the point of tears.
This week, the service to me felt like it was coming from the heart and not the head. It’s unusual to have a Sunday without a sermon in any Presbyterian church; we tend to be brainiacs and err on the side of being too “heady” often. It is uncommon for us to spend our Sunday mornings so directly in the pleasures and pains of life. The Westminster Catechism (which is part of our spiritual heritage) tells us our most important end in life is “to glorify God and enjoy God,” and so we brainiacs are probably missing something if we don’t regularly spend time in enjoyment – in singing and listening to beautiful music, opening our hearts to love new people, and sharing our affection for our friends who have traveled this road so long with us.
If I may write a bit more personally, I’d like to share from the heart about a person I loved. Elder Hilda Koehler from my home congregation, Broadway Presbyterian Church, passed away this week after a short time in hospice care. She was the elder assigned to my membership interview when I joined the church at age 15. While I was a teenager she and I sang in choir together for a while; and later, when I pursued ordination, she was my liaison with the church. She brought me to Presbytery meetings, read and responded to my statements of faith, checked in with me every once in a while, and prayed for me. I never had a doubt in my mind that she prayed regularly and lovingly for me; her faith was strong and her commitments were solid. She told me that she felt called by God to remain single, and called just as clearly to service to others as a midwife. Not everyone gets such a clear sense of call, but to me she was a witness of the simplicity of call – how making a few important decisions can allow everything else in your life to peacefully slide into place.
At my ordination (pictured here) Hilda said a prayer for me while the community laid hands on in prayer. I wish I had been able to pray for her in person, or sing around her bedside, as she prepared for her final adventure, and so I remember that life is short and we have but little time to gladden the hearts of those who walk this way with us…
Be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!
Every Blessing, Talitha