Saturday, May 05, 2007

Changing Church Part XIX

Families stole into the sanctuary as though they were being hunted. Parents chose seats in the unfamiliar formation of chairs, and gathered their children around them. Younger ones sat on the floor with pillows, paper, books, and crayons. Some adults greeted each other. Most of them maintained the nervous, uncertain looks.

Anne scanned the people with anticipation. Most were not looking her way, as if she might read their thoughts if she could catch their eye long enough to smile. A warm, hospitable smile was fixed on her face. To some extent she was playing a part, being the woman she thought would fit into the type of service they were instituting. Friendly and quiet. Ready to learn and ready to sing. She held a basket of muffins in her lap. The first person to smile at her would receive one, then the next, and so on until they were gone. Hopefully, setting the example of bringing and sharing food would inspire others.

Will was also present, going about to the deacons and leaders in the church. His mission was to discover whether any felt God was calling them to speak. He wore a good-natured smile despite his obvious lack of success. One high point was the number of families who were present. And to see them sitting as families was encouraging.

At the usual start time, Will stood in an odd semi-circular group of chairs to open the meeting in prayer. Then he opened his Bible to Colossians. He introduced it by saying that this week he had found strength in remembering that the God he serves is greater than the traditions of men. Each chapter of Colossians followed, peaking at declarations of God’s nature. Will’s eyes intensified, locked on certain members as he read the lower points, points about legalism, forsaking God’s word, being busy with the things of earth. People shifted in their chairs. Kids looked up from their entertainment when his voice got louder. No one left. Anne sat, caught by the inspired words of the text. So many instructions and truths occurred to her in a new light that as soon as he finished chapter four, she took out her notebook and began scribbling notes so she wouldn’t forget.

“Now is a good time for any men to share what God has been teaching them this week. One at a time.” The last sentence was said half in jest. He meant to instruct them, but he also made it as a joke about the lack of people scrambling to speak. People laughed nervously.

To God be all glory.

See the index for first and additional chapters.

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