Thursday, November 23, 2006

3208 An odd experience in church today

During the sermon this morning in the Thanksgiving service, my attention was drifting a bit (see last week's Thursday Thirteen). I'd had some upsetting news by phone right before we left the house, I had a guest with me, we were singing old familiar hymns, the scripture selections were excellent, and so forth, and all of a sudden I heard the pastor call out my name. I sort of jumped, then wondered if it had really happened or if I imagined it. You know how sometimes you think a pastor is speaking directly to you? It was a reference to Christ's work on the cross for our salvation, I think--like I say, my thoughts were drifting. But when I greeted the pastor on the way out he sort of apologized and said he had no idea why he mentioned my name. I think our congregation only has 2 or 3 women with my name, and one died a few weeks ago. I said, "Well, we go back a lot of years."

We were actually in the new members class together back in 1976. He was a school teacher then and I was a homemaker. I witnessed to him, and for some reason, everything he'd been learning over the years in church, from his parents, in Sunday school, confirmation classes, in life, sort of clicked. I'm not a particularly effective Christian witness--tend to be a little too wordy and heady about faith matters. But it made sense to him. Four of us couples from that new members class continued to meet for Bible study for several years. He eventually decided to leave teaching and go to seminary, and about 22 years ago became an ordained Lutheran pastor. After serving for some time in another state, he was called back to our church as an assistant pastor. If I never witness to another person, this was a good choice. But I suspect it wasn't my doing.

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