Since I am working tomorrow, I went to church tonight. I know...it's kind of a record for me now--two weeks in a row. I went back to the church I attended last Sunday because I liked it so much. Tonight was great again--it was packed so I sat between a lady who was about 80 (and whom I had to help to stand and then sit and then stand again) and a little boy about 8 who looked at me a lot. I also held hands with them at one point in the service...gosh I enjoyed that! I wondered how many people, like me, hadn't held anyone's hand in a really long time.
The pastor is so funny...and really drives home the point. Tonight, before getting started with the message, he talked about how Palm Sunday falls on St. Patrick's Day this year and asked if anyone would be opposed to them serving green beer as they give out palms. He said, "Would you believe that Jesus and Mary were Irish?"
Anyway, the message was on forgiving yourself. Yikes. We've all heard this before (heck even I preached on this once!) Knowing that you are forgiven is one thing, but then, you have to let yourself off the hook! The key a consistent and optimistic view of the future...and entering with a pure heart and a clean slate.
At the end he wrapped up by reminding everyone that Valentine's Day is this week. He said, "...and in honor of that, the closing song will be one of my favorite love songs....see if you know it too." With that, the music started..."There's a kind of hush, all over the world tonight..." and Herman's Hermits echoed through the sanctuary. The whole crowd started singing--and some started dancing. The man in front of me turned around and we sang the words together! I loved it. Loved it! People were singing and laughing and smiling and saying good bye all the way out to the parking lot.
In the car I realized what I like so much about this church. Nobody knows who I am. Or who I was. They just want to hold my hand and sing with me.