What an awesome morning at church today! The happenings there have more than made up for the huge disappointment of not being able to get to Eston, even though we still wish we could be with our friends there right now.
The service of baptism and confirmation went very well. It was a lot of fun and we had some good old fashioned foot stomping and hand clapping songs. My husband's sermon about God working in the worst times of our lives and through people we don't always appreciate in order to bring his will into line was very good.
It was a long service and what a joy to be met with good cheer by the United church worship band who had been held up in setting up their instruments because of us going overtime in our shared worship space. They were so good about being kept waiting.
One of the things our Bishop did this morning, a most UN-Anglican approach to baptism, was to give what was essentially an old fashioned altar call. He said that if anyone had been moved recently, even today, to consider Jesus and being baptized and confirmed to come see him or my husband about it. He truly believes in the power of invitation and today his belief was certainly justified! We were barely out of the service when a young man we haven't seen at church very often approached the bishop and wanted to talk. His father is also a priest and a few weeks ago he heard his father give a sermon about baptism. Today the sermon once again touched his heart, as well as the story of Paul, persecutor of Christians, who had such an unexpected encounter with the resurrected Jesus and ended up becoming the writer of many of our New Testament books after a huge spiritual transformation. The young man, long story short, spent quite awhile with our bishop and church leaders and my husband will meet with him later this week to start preparing him for baptism next month.
The last we saw of his parents this morning was as they were hugging their son, all of them crying and loving on each other. I know what it is like to pray for many years for adult children and the overwhelming joy experienced when they begin to change their life decisions for the better.
Had we left for Eston right after the service my husband would have missed this chance to connect with the young man and begin a relationship with him.
Then there was another important meeting after that and before we knew it any time remaining that could have meant us getting up to Eston in time to celebrate with our friends was long past.
Now we understand at least part of the reason we weren't led to follow our own desire to head out of town. The bad weather was the "icing on the cake" of our sense that going away wasn't the best plan for the day. Despite the disappointment we had an underlying sense of peace about staying here. What a delight to have encountered the young man needing to be baptized and confirmed. His service will be on the May long weekend and the bishop will preside and preach. I am looking forward to it all ready.
My husband was exhausted by the time we finally left the church building so we had a light lunch and relax time visiting together and now he is having a nap. We will phone our Eston friends again closer to dinner time and give out birthday wishes and arrange to have a celebration with them later on. We are so fortunate that these particular friends know exactly what kind of ministry things can occur to change plans last minute and will be forgiving.
Another interesting Sunday!!