September 11th, 2011

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Great day in church

We had a great service this morning. Two of our local firefighters graced us with their presence. Capt. Chris Stillions, ING (Ret.), a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, shared his thoughts. We lit the Peace Candle Fairview UMC gave our youth this summer. We recognized our community's first responders with the Strength for Service devotional book. And we remembered.

At the last minute -- in fact, just as I was standing up front beginning the "joys and concerns" before our prayers, it came to me that I should offer the people a chance to share their memories and feelings. It's what we do after a member of our church dies. And I think that was exactly the right thing to do. Letting everybody share was more important for the community than listening to me preach a set-piece sermon. For that matter, I had already decided I would step down from the pulpit and just briefly share my own thoughts, rather than attempt to sum up God's thoughts from the pulpit.

The choir sang a moving prayer anthem, "Pie, Jesu." And as we recessed at the end of the service, we sang, "Let there be peace on earth" (the original, politically incorrect version -- yay!).

All in all, it was a powerful service. And it was made even more special because there were some people in attendance who have been much on my mind of late. To see them in church did my heart good.