Every Sunday I feel a little more attached. I picture it as us being "stitched" in a tight little zigzag to the people of the church--that each Sunday at least one more stitch is placed, and eventually we may never be inclined to leave; never strong enough to, if that strength were needed! (I hope it's not.)
The first week we all agreed that there was something great about this church--and I have to say, it's in spite of the building, which is small, somewhat dark inside, and to be truthful, downright ugly on the outside. On the way home that first day, Gary kept talking about "programs" such as Awana and how he wanted to find a church that had them. First stitch that first Sunday might have been seeing a mother and daughter speak about the short-term missions trip they went on together. The next was having the pastor pray with us regarding our finding a church that worked for us (he's made a lot of stitches--see my blog on the Shepherding Pastor); then the Fourth of July picnic at a family's home, and the fellowship we had there.
Another was when a family we know came to visit the church. They have many children and would need a number of seats in a row. The usher asked an older couple if they might move from a row at the side to make room for them. I was so struck by how sweetly the couple willingly moved to accommodate the family; the lady said to me, "I kind of like to sit in the middle part anyway, once in a while."
Then there's the way that the congregation is included in the goings-on. Some of the songs we sing were written by one of the young men there. The pastor makes eye contact with various members of the congregation, especially the row of older ladies in the front center, as he gives his message. He asks questions occasionally and we are urged to answer. After the first service there is a prayer time in the second service time, accommodating whatever needs for prayer the congregation might have.
That was another big stitch--the last Sunday that Katie was able to attend before going off to college in California. They devoted much of the prayer time to praying for her, as well as for the homeschooling and other parenting responsibilities of all the families.
Then the family camp that we thought was washed out, but it wasn't...you may have read my blog about that.
Then there was a wedding shower for a young lady in the church. One of the women called to see if she could pick me up so we could ride together to the shower--along with all her seven daughters and a couple of other riders. She said she had quite the people-mover, and it's true!
Today the pastor's wife said she was glad we'd come, daring to say that she and I were a lot alike, though short and tall (I'm the short of it!). Another stitch.
There's been less talk about the missing programs. Tim's not dying to go to Awana anyway, and we can memorize Scripture in our homeschooling without it. Besides it's no longer available where we were attending before. We had been thinking we might move to California, or to Colorado, but those thoughts are becoming a little less vivid. (I'm still thinking a bit on California, because the tie to a daughter in school is pretty strong! But we could always fly if we had to.)
Stitch, stitch, stitch. We're being sewn in, and it's not our own doing (just like so many great things God does). We're not on the ragged edge, we're not being treated like a dangerous fringe element. We're becoming part of the church.