Sunday Morning

Reflections on Shuffle-Play (the thing where I write a reflection based on a song from that morning’s run)

I didn’t lead worship today. I get a few Sundays off each year and while it is nice to have a Sunday now and then to not extend the mental energy toward preparing a sermon and not be “on” for a Sunday morning, it is equally nice to have the opportunity to worship somewhere else. This morning, I chose to worship at a larger church in a town nearby. I chose this particular church because I like the pastors and because I knew I would be relatively anonymous there. It isn’t a church that typically does a lot with my own so I can slip and out without being noticed by many of the parishioners.

It is important to worship other places because it helps wake up my mind to what other churches are doing. When I spend each Sunday in my own church and focusing on the way we do things, I forget that there is a whole other world outside full of different ways of thinking and doing. I usually come away from other worship services feeling both inspired to try some new things, yet also finding that there are also things I prefer about my own church. Today was no different.

I liked the bright and airy sanctuary, the touches of tradition along with the touches of modern. They recently went through a renovation, so while the outside looks very traditional and a bit cold, the inside is warm and welcoming. The pastors are great – whip-smart, with easy smiles and demeanor. They are both younger than me and have young children, so while I was there I found myself remembering the unique challenges that come with trying to balance all the demands of being a full-time pastor along with all the demands of being a full-time parent to little ones who need you so much. It’s beautiful and hard and precious.

Before we had our boys, I remember thinking parenthood would be a lot like regular life, just with these extra little people around. It was my job to feed them and clothe them and raise them, but it was their job to fit into my world, not me fit into their world. I didn’t realize, because there is no way you can realize until you go through it, how much children alter the world as you once knew it. Nothing was the same anymore. Going out to eat was no longer the same leisurely experience because it became a race to see if we could even get a few bites of our food eaten before one child or the other was in a meltdown. Going to movies was different because for a very long time the kiddos only want to see cartoons or superhero movies – gone were the romantic comedies, dramas, and suspense films. Having a conversation with one’s spouse was immensely different – rather than being able to talk to each other in peace and quiet at any hour of the day, instead we had to cram important conversations into the crevices of our days. There was hardly any room for each other because the children took up so much space and energy. During the worship service I found myself thinking about how quickly the years have passed and so much of early parenthood just felt like trying to keep my head above water. Did we do the best we could? Did we make the most of the time yet savor it as well? What will our boys remember from their childhood?

It was a welcome surprise that part of the worship today was a service for healing. Anyone could come up if they wanted and receive prayers for healing. I wondered if anyone would go forward as sometimes Lutherans can be terribly tentative about things like this – but most everyone in the congregation went forward to receive prayers and anointing. Before they began, one of the pastors said simply that all of us need healing in one way or another. He talked about how it is a flaw in our culture, and particularly in Christianity, that we feel like we need to put on a perfect front. It’s okay to need healing, it’s okay to admit that we hurt and would like someone to pray for us. He spoke those few simple words and a whole church full of people came forward one by one to receive prayers. It was healing for me, too. I’ve done healing services before but usually as something apart from Sunday morning. I’ve never before seen it done like it was done at this church today – and I loved it. I look forward to stealing that idea as soon as possible.

My youngest came with me to church this morning. He sang along loudly with the worship band. Then, we went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. On the way home, we saw the fish houses and ice skaters out on the lake. We sang along to classic rock and talked about making cookies this afternoon. It is an unusual Sunday, but a good one. A chance to see the world, worship, and my own life from a new perspective. Thanks be to God.

Sunday Morning

By No Doubt

Sappy pathetic little me
That was the girl I used to be
You had me on my knees

I’d trade you places any day
I’d never thought you could be that way
But you looked like me on Sunday

You came in with the breeze
On Sunday morning
You sure have changed since yesterday
Without any warning
I thought I knew you
I thought I knew you
I thought I knew you well, so well

You’re trying my shoes on for a change
They look so good but fit so strange
Out of fashion, so I can complain

You came in with the breeze
On Sunday morning
You sure have changed since yesterday
Without any warning
I thought I knew you
I thought I knew you
I thought I knew you well, so well

I know who I am, but who are you?
You’re not looking like you used to
You’re on the other side of the mirror
So nothing’s looking quite as clear
Thank you for turning on the lights
Thank you, now you’re the parasite
I didn’t think you had it in you
And now you’re looking like I used to!

You came in with the breeze
On Sunday morning
You sure have changed since yesterday
Without any warning
And you want me badly
Because you cannot have me
I thought I knew you
But I’ve got a new view
I thought I knew you well, oh well

On Sunday morning
And I don’t want it
Sunday morning
I thought I knew you
Sunday morning
Oh you want me badly
Can have it
Sunday morning
Sunday morning
Sunday morning

 


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