Church: King’s Chapel, Glenmont
Pastor: Lou Giampaglia
Time Spent: 10am-12noon
Overall Impression: Impressive Depth
Type: I can’t make out a denomination that this church calls itself, but it also doesn’t go by “non-denominational” which is a term that seems to be becoming a buzzword. It’s possible they want to avoid the classification because the term “non-denominational” is almost becoming a denomination itself.
According to the history, it is an outgrowth of Westerlo Baptist Church in the late 90’s, but there’s no mention of current affiliation, and I’m not entirely sure how to group it. (possibly that is the point- touché!)
Format: Opening song, announcements, more songs, sermon, closing song and prayer
Thoughts: The first thing that grabbed me was the warmth. Now I’m a sucker for good lighting, acoustics, and actual warmth, so it’s possible this fuzzy feeling was just a lucky combination. But it felt nice in there. I notice from the bulletin that this church collects food and clothing in association with a food pantry and a rescue mission, maybe I should consider shopping for non-perishables and driving them over. It is right next to my usual grocery store. The people seem nice, cool, they are obviously close to each other. I was greeted only once, but that’s ok. If one is greeted too many times into a new place it can become overwhelming. And it’s not like I felt snubbed. Actually the opposite. After the service I introduced myself to the pastor and he intro’d me to his wife. While talking with her I put my hand in my pocket and discovered I locked my keys in my car. She offered to let me use her tripleA to unlock it, but I didn’t need to since Dan was down the street. It was kinda funny in a stupid (like of all the dumb things I could do!) way.
The sermon was really my favorite part. The pastor touched on a lot of different aspects of the reading for that day. It was from Genesis 15- actually it might have been the whole chapter. Here are the parts of the sermon that struck me enough to record in my notebook.
Covenant is an important theme in this part of Genesis. The idea of covenant is throughout the bible. There is an implicit one with Adam- take care of the earth and Eve and don’t eat that fruit. Noah was given the rainbow as sign of the covenant when God told him he wouldn’t flood the earth again. Marriage is a covenant. Grace is a covenant.
The pastor did an interesting thing (I think) in relating Genesis opening to the gospels. The words God says to the three in the garden can be interpreted as relating to Jesus’ death. He says to the serpent (evil/devil) ‘He will crush your head’. Jesus crushes sin and gets rid of it. He also says ‘You will bruise his heel’. Jesus was busied and wounded in his death. This interpretation makes the Genesis verses almost a prophesy and I hadn’t heard it that way before.
There’s lots of good imagery in this chapter. Abram (later renamed Abraham by God) was from Ur, a place where he probably worshipped the moon. God came to him, brought him out, and then promised to give him really awesome things, including lots of lands and descendants. God speaks to him and takes him outside, telling him to look up. “Number the stars. So shall your descendants be.” He promises him so many grandchildren great-grandchildren, etc, that he wouldn’t be able to count them. And he told him in a way that had him focus on a night sky with the moon in it. A moon that probably never promised all these things to him. And we know from later chapters that God keeps his promise. The other important thing about Abram is that he believes God before it was even accomplished. That’s why we call Abram one of the faithful.
An interesting thing the pastor talked about was old testament agreements. The covenant Abram makes is like others made at that time with animal sacrifices. An animal was cut in half and those making the promise walked between the halves as a sign that they agreed. It was a way of saying, “I’ll keep my promise, if not may I be sliced in half like these animals.” If I understood the message correctly, in this case God made the necessary pass through the animal halves as fire and smoke.
Another point that was called into use was the idea of faith vs. works. The message was that faith is the important one because True Faith brings works. I think I can disagree with this one in practice, because I feel it is part of myself to require motivation actually doing good works and I don’t think it is lack of true faith. But that’s probably another longer discussion.
I also had some difficulty with a question we were posed: Given the choice, would you choose the best thing in your life or Jesus? Well the best thing in my life is my family. I don’t think it would ever come to me choosing to give them up in order to obtain Jesus. Also I wouldn’t. So I think the question wasn’t a great one, but I think I understand the point. Jesus is pretty important.
Overall Feelings: Nice place you got there!
I could go back. And I might, if I get a free week- say one in which I try attending a service that is no longer in service. I’d be a bit late of course, but I get the feeling they wouldn’t mind.