The church service was lovely this morning. I have been zooming service for so long that I feel like a visitor when I am physically in the sanctuary. First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale knows how to do Christmas right. I will never forget my first year…24 years ago…when I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the Hanging Of The Greens and the majesty of all of the wonderful Christmas decorations throughout the building. That year Pastor Richard preached a Christmas Eve service that was reminiscent of Dickens London. I swear that I saw Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchitt sitting in the corner on the front row. I tend to feel a bit out of touch having been attending Zoom Church for so long due to our Pandemic. But there was Wendy who came up to Jonathon and me and greeted us so warmly that it felt like I had never been away.
When MJ and I and Aaron and Jonathon began attending First Pres in 1998 we were all younger…although I thought that I was old even then. The kindness of the congregation and their interest in our children and their demonstrated dedication to serving God and keeping their commitment to Christ…was exemplary! Age did not seem to matter to the Presbyterians of First Pres. Some walked with the aid of canes and others with walkers…and some had to hold on to each pew to facilitate their walking without assistance. When I was on the Stewardship Committee a few years ago my colleague Barbara B. was at the church every day and worked alongside me in our manual labor Stewardship endeavors. Barbara neither complained nor grumbled about the workload but actively sought out issues that we needed to address. Indeed there is a reason that little churches survive and thrive… they have a dedicated congregation of members who have servants’ hearts.
Now MJ and I are the age of many of our fellow congregants when we arrived so many years ago. My friends in our church are reminiscent of many Parisians that I saw when we were there in 2012. Nothing seemed to stop or deter them from living their lives. Many walked haltingly with walkers and more with simple little canes for mobility assistance. The good things in life are worked for and sweated over and struggled to obtain by the Meek Of The Earth…the humble and the quiet and the precious people who are motivated by an unquenchable fire in the furnace of their souls.