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Sunday, November 27, 2005

WOW - Church after all these years!


Karen and I just got back from a Metropolitan Community Church service. This was the first time I've attended a "regular" church service since high school. The pastor, Rev. Glenna Shepherd, introduced herself to us. It seems she is a Tennessean as well. The congregation was older than I had hoped (most of the participants were in their late 50's - early 60's) and there were many more men than women.

We happened to attend service on the first day of advent. I particularly liked today's responsive reading:

Pastor: Today is the first Sunday of advent. In this season we long for the birth of Christ.
All: Our longing turns to hope.
Pastor: We light the first Advent candle to remind us to live in hope.
All: To live in hope is to risk affirming the new and reaffirming the old.
Pastor: To live in hope is to risk self-criticism as the channel of renewal.
All: To live in hope is to risk dialogue.
Pastor: To live in hope is to risk struggle and risk scorn.
All: We continue the journey as we long for the birth of Christ.
Pastor: As people of hope and people of longing, arise and greet one another with hope.

The service was about desperation and longing in our lives. The pastor quoted some song lyrics from the Eagles song, "Desperado" which was pretty cool.

Then everyone in the congregation was offered the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Believe it or not, this was my first Communion. Out of all the years in attending Baptist church, this was the first time I participated in this activity. I'm not sure why I didn't partake at my childhood church. All I can recall was an emphasis on "being pure and completely forgiven and have asked for full atonement" before taking the sacrament. I never felt like I had reached that state so I never took Communion. Karen and I received Communion together, holding hands. It was a lovely experience.

All in all, I enjoyed the service. I enjoyed the opportunity to pray for my friends and family and to add my prayers to those requesting prayer in the congregation.

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