Friday, July 31, 2009

And Goldilocks Said, "This porridge is just right."

This is the pipe organ from the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park. It may seem like some gaudy tool for an ostentatious religion to you, but to me, it was a very good sign. That is because music is a very important part of worship to me. People can screw up religion without trying very hard at all. Pastors can preach temperance and have a drinking problem. Youth ministers can profess a dedication to family values while having an affair. Congregants can be conniving, jealous, vindictive, and never miss a church service. But music doesn't cheat, lie, or scheme, and what you get out of it is up to you. This church had beautiful music.

I glance around this mid-sized church and see -- to my relief -- stained-glass windows. The educational tool for the poor, the illiterate, the young. Now an archaic symbol to many, to me stained glass represents the church's desire to reach everyone, not just the elite. I feel like I can breathe again.

I also see many different faces, many of whom I did not see in the other churches we've tried. I see old and young, children and twentysomethings, white, black, Asian, Latino/a, a myriad of people. The visiting pastor is an African-American woman; one of the regular pastors is a female. A good sign! I feel like squeezing the stranger sitting nearest to me, and asking them, "Is this home?" But I refrain. Wouldn't want to seem like that crazy fellow from Idlewild, now, would I?

The sermon is about food. The pastor discusses the bread and fish miracle, and interprets it to mean we are spiritually fed, and we are often materially blessed; she encourages us to feed others in any way we can. She then outlines ministries in the church that would allow us to do just this. I am excited by her practical application of scripture, by her call to make the community we live in better, and by her specific suggestions outlining how to do just that.

My experience at Hyde Park reminded of Goldilocks's porridge experiment. The first was too hot, the second too cold, but the third was just right, and so she ate it up. And so did we.


emk said...

I didn't think our Methodist church followed the lectionary, but since our sermon last Sunday was also about the loaves and fishes miracle, methinks we were on a national schedule! So glad you found what seems to be a "just right" church!

Jono the Cousin said...

...and we couldn't be more happy to have you here!!!