Church #35, Unionville Reformed Church

Date: 6/30/13

Church name/type: Unionville Reformed Church (sign out from reads: Union Dutch Reformed Church), RCA

Pastor: Tom Kendall

Style of worship: Short structured service common to reformed churches- did not seem particularly uptight regarding formalities eg: prayer time was open to congregational intentions

Overall Impression: Good and friendly

Well, another week, another Reformed Church. As a whole, I’m still very much liking the denomination. This group had a very easy friendliness going on. I felt welcomed as a matter of course. People seemed genuinely happy to be there and happy that I was there.

I thought the message was remarkably cohesive, especially given what I found out later – the pastor is near 90. Because it was so near to the Fourth of July there was some amount of crossover with the sermon. The pastor cited several times how lucky we are. He mentioned all the good things we have access to and the fact that we worship whatever way we like and no one bothers us. He said we thank God that wars are past and we have come through ok on the other side. In this vein he referenced December 7th- I checked that date and it was clear he was referring to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It’s really a much different feel to hear about us victorious in war when it comes from someone of an older set. It removes from now; separates. And WWII has many more implications as compared to our most recent wars. To hear an older person talk about winning a war doesn’t have the same intimidation as the same words coming from a young person who you feel could still actually get up and go fight.

There was alot in the message about ourselves having a covenant with God. Every day, pastor said, we remake this covenant with God. Every day we say yes. That’s a good way to look at commitment. You cannot say ok once and expect matters to see to themselves. You have to remind yourself what you meant to do and them do it. It’s the same way for weight loss, relationships, keeping a secret, or whatever you commit to doing.

I suppose that with a message about committing to God, there is automatically going to be a message about the opposite. There was a quick reference to atheism being on the rise, but no follow up. I’d guess that this was supposed to be taken as an automatic negative. I kind of wanted to engage in some conversation afterwards about this, but wound up mostly describing the blog to someone who doesn’t use the Internet. It does bug me that there are Christians who seem to think atheists are a bunch of bitter, selfish jerks. That’s not my experience. I am however willing to partly forgive the atheists=negative sentiment, because of what it was followed by. The pastor said, “One wonders how so many called Christians use God’s name so indiscriminately.” This is a bit better. Christians aren’t getting automatically lumped into the ‘good’ category based on name alone. We can’t just assume God loves us best and all we do us golden. Citing God’s name doesn’t make us right. We actually have to follow the things Jesus said. Take care of your neighbor. Help the poor and hurting. I can hear all of this in the pastor’s statement. And maybe I’m projecting a bit, but hey, that’s how it speaks to me. I guess I’m starting to see sermons as one might see a more abstract piece of art or film. I’m drawn to the idea that spoken words are no longer yours after you speak them. They are the property of the listener. You can explain what you meant, but the listener hears what they hear. I liked the places this sermon took me because of the way it made me think and what I heard in it.

Go to church, get a plant!: A woman was giving away free baby tomato plants. I took only one (although I was told to take more if I liked) because plants sometimes die in my care. I got home and planted it in a bare spot, where it was promptly destroyed by a chipmunk who likes digging in lightly packed soil. Oh well.

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