Sunday, February 11, 2007

the plight of the third verse

The third verse is an endangered one. I had forgotten about this entirely until I visited a hymnal-using church this morning, for the first time in a while. As usual, hymns were listed in this way: "Hymn #543, omit verse 3" Every single time. I suppose there are two things to be gleaned from this tragic reminder. 1) If you have a favorite hymn, there could be a third verse that you've never even heard, and it could be amazing! Look it up! 2) If you are ever going to write a hymn, put your weakest material in the third verse. Odds are good that no one will ever sing it anyway.

My visit to this hymn singing church was part of my Sunday outing, one which might be titled: "A small town girl tires of the city, and strikes out in search of a small town church and a quiet place to read." I have spent my whole life in small towns (most of them of the mountain variety), save for an internship in Wichita and a year in Honolulu. My heart is just more rested in those places. So, after spending a quiet evening at home last night and heading to bed early, I got up this morning and drove to Green Mountain Falls, elevation 7800, population about 800. On previous drives through town, I had noticed a beautiful, old church--a perfect place of worship for today's outing.

I managed to show up on Cub Scout Sunday, so I was treated to four-foot ushers and a Scripture reading from a young fellow still struggling to pronounce his r's. Jewemiah was the book, if I recall. The Pastor surprised me by laying down an unabashedly forthright sermon about the woes Jesus spoke to the rich and well-fed (amen, brother). I was greeted enthusiastically by several people and offered some amazing looking cake (unfortunately, my sweet tooth doesn't turn on until after lunch, so I had to refuse). When I left, I smiled to be walking down a sleepy small town street on a beautiful Colorado day.

From Green Mountain Falls, I drove ten minutes farther up Hwy 24 to Woodland Park (population just under 7,000--felt like a metropolis after Green Mtn Falls). There I munched on a breakfast burrito and sipped coffee at Java the Hut, one of the best coffee shops on the planet. I sat in the sun, looked out at the back side of Pike's peak, and read Proverbs. The chapter in Proverbs was amazing, and the view of the Peak brought back memories of a very cold journey across the ridgeline...

Now, as cities go, Colorado Springs is one of the best. I don't feel too crowded-in, or like I'm trapped in a concrete paradise. I can mountain bike right from my house. But still, there's something about a small town church and the people filling its pews, or a hometown cafe and the folks in the booths, or a quiet mainstreet where people just makes my heart feel right at home.

Next week I'll throw caution to the wind and eat the cake.


Cactus said...

I agree java the hut is the bomb. I love to ride my motorcycle up there after work once the snow clears and just sit and read a good book. (The curves on the pass at 80mph get me in the mood)

Jason Rhue said...

What a beautiful description of what seems like a surreal day. When did the whole world go mad and begin moving at 70mph for everything...including quiet reflection?