Walking in the Light #42- The Sunday Church
The Sunday Church is Charismatic/Pentecostal. Service there is very different from the Saturday church. The first time I went was last Christmas and it was the children’s performance of the nativity scene. A lot of proud parents and grandparents and relatives enjoyed seeing their children. I did not have any children there so it was not as enjoyable for me. It was several weeks later before I attended service there again.
Worship service lasts almost an hour. That is when they play music and sing. Most of the congregation stands during this part of the service. The music is loud and consists of drums, guitars, keyboard, and violin. Gone is the music of my childhood Methodist church where there was only a choir and a single organist. Here at this church, the congregation raises their arms and some jump or twirl and some kneel in prayer, some lay on the floor and some in the back waive banners. Mostly I have found it very distracting to me.
I find that I can barely keep from staring at all the activity. Finally, I have learned to just close my eyes and tune out the jumping, twirling, and just allow my thoughts to seek the Lord. When I tune out the distractions, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. I smell a sweet fragrance, almost like honeysuckle or like warm oil or like the air after a rain storm. I feel a gentle touch like a change in the air pressure on my skin and I am filled with a sense of acceptance and love braided together. I’m sorry that it is so hard to explain in words the sensations I experience there but words are just inadequate. I know that most of you will not believe that what I feel is real and tangible and that it is not just a trick of my mind or a flashback from my drug days. I accept that I will not be believed and it is ok because I’m certain that what I experience is real.
The Sunday Church preaches the gospel and it is compelling and highly spiritual. I’ve learned so much from their sermons. Having no bible background, I have to take good notes and research the sermon later at home.
The Sunday church believes in leadership by a group of elders rather than a single pastor. One of the elders speaks strongly about the gifts of the spirit. He is a Profit of God. Another elder is very knowledgeable about the Bible and teaches a lot about repentance and giving all to the Lord of yourself. He speaks very loudly, and passionately. He uses a microphone but I don’t think he needs it. He usually teaches the Wednesday bible study group. The third elder is more the traditional pastor personality but I have not gotten to know him very well as he was out sick for an extended time and now has gone out into the mission field.
It has been hard to get to know people in this congregation. I’ve been so closed off for so many years, it is a challenge for me to be open and connect with others. My method has been to watch people and I noticed that most regular attendees always sit in the same area. To get to know people, I have changed my seat from time to time so that I sit with a different group after a few Sundays. In a way that has been successful. I always go alone. I have a few friends from my ladies prayer group that attend that church but I usually can’t find any of them so I sit somewhere by myself. Also the majority of the congregation is made up of young people. I don’t have anything against young people but there are differences that make it hard to establish a rapport.
Attending a large church where I don’t know more than ten people has been and continues to be a huge challenge for me. The church membership is about one hundred and fifty and there are always lots of visitors or others that attend regularly. I keep going and trying. I’m set to join the Greeter’s team next month and maybe that will help. I try to attend some of the extra activities too. Once I brought a visually attractive desert and that got a lot of attention so the other women spoke to me and it helped to break the ice. I’m fighting years of bad habits and it is not easy to change. The Saturday church is a little easier because it is smaller.