Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Adults are obsolete children." - Dr. Seuss

It's just after 7 p.m. and we're watching a new BBC detective show we recorded on PBS called Maigret. Well, I'm watching it; Pam's sleeping in her chair except for those moments when she startles herself awake for a few seconds.
This show stars the guy who played Mr. Bean, so this takes a little getting used to.
How Pam can fall asleep now is a mystery. We spent four hours in the car and she slept most of that.

We were up early and left home at 7:30 for the 100-mile drive to Newberg OR, a fascinating town with wonderful old houses, mostly bungalows, and George Fox University, a Quaker school. But our reason for going to Newberg was Newberg Friends Church where I preached the morning sermon.

Sherry Macy is a dear friend we've known since moving to Grand Rapids in 1989. I was honored to have a part in Sherry and Mauri's wedding 24 years ago in Grand Rapids. After that they moved to Newberg where Mauri was the worship pastor at NFC. He's since retired but Sherry continues her work as office administrator.

NFC is without a pastor and their interim pastor got quite sick in the middle of the week. Sherry got permission to ask me to fill in and per my comments here a few days ago I agreed.

I confess to going into it with some anxiety. The Friends have some traditions very foreign to my experience and I worried about doing something clumsy and inadvertently offending them. I also don't know Quaker theology well so that was also a potential pitfall.

Sherry was both an encouragement and my personal guide through the experience. She did a great job of telling me what to expect and giving me a nudge when it was time for silent worship to conclude and for me to preach. (I don't remember the correct term for the extended time for people to worship and pray and share if God places a message on their heart.)

OK, my take on the morning with the caveat that I'm in the throes of the preacher's hangover.

It turns out Quakers are pretty normal people. They are friendly, sing well, have a sense of humor, and they're attentive listeners.
A guest musician and his daughter led the music. He's very good! Here's a You Tube video of Bill Joliff with son (a pretty amazing mandolin player) and daughter performing. Anna joined him this morning.

I preached the story of Naaman's healing in 2 Kings 5, a picture of our salvation. I was pretty tense, which explains my greater than usual fatigue this evening. I don't know if that tension showed and if I communicated effectively but I got complimentary feedback afterward.

Here's a couple of pics I took of their sanctuary before people arrived. I took this from the balcony because I figured it gave the best perspective. Quakers are big on the equality of all believers, which is why they don't use the term pastor. It's also why their "meeting houses" (not churches) are typically rounded and shallow instead of the more typical Protestant narrow and long with everyone facing forward.

The support arches in the room used to be dark wood. Several years ago they painted the walls white and the pillars ivory. That plus the excellent lighting makes it a bright open space. They did a good job with it and I like the combination of respect for the building's history and a more modern feel. (The organ in the loft is rarely used.)
I wish I'd taken a pic of the platform area. It was very conducive to a wandering preacher.

So, I'm tired but not irritated with myself. Any Sunday night I can say that is a good Sunday night. I might be a babbling idiot through much of tomorrow but I think it was a good day.

And thank you, Mauri and Sherry, for a good lunch and better fellowship after church!

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I continue to receive positive comments on your message, Craig. You had nothing to fear! Thanks for all the prep and prayer and travel you (and Pam) contributed to our service. We were all blessed by your presence.