The world has been moving too fast for me. Even when I did make it to Green Mountain Falls a few weeks ago, I found myself unable to sit down and record the hilarity of it all. That particular Sunday was surprisingly packed out, due to a baptism, a dedication, and the conclusion of the week of VBS. As one baby was baptized, another dedicated, I found myself almost in tears. Somehow the beauty of watching a community commit to stand behind these children, of watching parents hope the best for their children, got to me.
Upon walking into the sanctuary, I had been a little confused by the amount of cowboy hats and general western gear to be seen in the pews. Was it in honor of the town’s upcoming festival? Not long into the service, I discovered that all the down-home decorum was to celebrate the end of VBS, which was called “Avalanche Ranch”. The kids sang some awesome songs, all dressed in hats and bandanas and such, and we all learned a new way to say amen: “Wahoo!” I like that.
Afterward, as I sipped coffee in the courtyard, I chatted with a group of people about the upcoming move, and about the imminent journey to Canada. They listened with genuine interest and support, and faithfully asked me about it when I returned. There are few things as encouraging as being among a body that actually takes interest in one another’s lives.
Needless to say, I breathed a sigh of relief to be back in my sunny pew yesterday. The children’s sermon included the usual moments of hilarity. The pastor, who told a story about going to see the local wolf preserve on the night of a full moon, asked the kids if they had seen the preserve themselves. One of them let the church know that his parents keep breaking their promise to take him, but they said they’d go next month. The pastor promptly looked out at the crowd and said, “Note to parents: You’re going to the wolf preserve in September. You heard it here first, don’t let ‘em down.” I loved it.
In fact, I loved so many parts of the morning. My British friend sat behind me, and I could hear her endearing accent as we prayed the Lord’s Prayer and as we sang our hymns. The elderly woman who shaved her head in honor of kids with cancer is sporting a nice grey shag as it finally grows out again. At the potluck, I chatted with new friends, and compared stories of frustrating weekends with the man sitting next to me. I was so encouraged by his honesty about how sometimes he just gets mad when things go wrong, mainly because I spent the day before in a state of fury as one thing after another failed to go my way.
Perhaps most importantly, I found my heart at rest in the rhythm of the liturgy again. We sing it every Sunday: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”
Wahoo to that.