This is one of those days where I am faced with a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, I had a very exciting and full day, with much to write about and a mind too active to sleep easily. On the other hand, in about five and a half ours or so I have to get up and get ready for the sports day tomorrow, where I am helping set up the teams for volleyball as one of the assistants to the organizer of our sports events for the Northwest Weekend. So what is a neurotic and compulsive blogger like myself to do? The main task for tonight will be to write enough so that I can go to sleep peacefully, and hopefully have relatively peaceful dreams, but not write so much that it takes me hours and ruins any chance of an okay sleep. Finding the delicate balance between those two undesirable poles–either not writing enough so that my mind is not at peace, or writing too much that I do not get any sleep, is the task of this blog entry, which is not an unusual place for me to find myself in , usually for very specific reasons. Such is the case tonight.
My day did not begin particularly auspiciously. I arrived a few minutes late to the teen/young adult Bible Study and tried to find an inconspicuous place in the back, but when the talk wound its way to encouraging the people there to be baptized, the recently ordained elder from a neighboring congregation called all of us who were already baptized to the front of the room, divided us into groups, and then sent us off mostly two by two to encourage and facilitate the teens and unbaptized young adults, telling them our stories, answering their questions, and helping to fill out a paper that serves as the elder’s first discussion topic with a young person who seeks baptism. I was glad that the young people had questions, because at first they seemed to have problems answering the questions, and I am often concerned in such a circumstance that I dominate the conversation without any sort of conscious intent merely because I have so much to say. After the Bible Study ended I spoke with a gentleman who happened to be there with his wife and daughter, and we chatted about how the Church of God needs to be less of a yellow pencil world if we are going to be able to demonstrate that we can relate to the ways that the world is broken and seeks wholeness. I think that if we really knew each other that we would be able to relate to just about every kind of brokenness that the world has to offer, and hopefully demonstrate what God can do through His Holy Spirit as well.
Today was a day of fairly intense musical service. For about an hour I practiced two numbers that I ended up singing as part of groups for special music. The first song, “I Believe,” was sung with a group of teens, young adults, and parents from my congregation who all sing a capella together, a group that I have been a part of intermittently at least four or five times because of the tension between the discomfort that people have with me singing in that company but the need they have for a solid tenor , meaning that periodically I get asked to sing to help boost the quality of the section even though it brings unnecessary drama and complication into my life. The second number we practiced, and then sang after the announcements portion of services this afternoon, was a beautiful song I have sung before called “This Is My Word,” which has very meaningful lyrics and that I particularly enjoyed singing. After the practice but before services I also ended up helping to figure out how to order the ensemble, which was filled with a variety of instruments including three violinists who sat to my left. I was pleased with how that portion of today went, given how much time and effort it took, but I heard a lot of praise about how beautiful both songs sung and how lovely it was to have the ensemble perform, and so it was a gratifying day for me with regards to that aspect of service.
I was, overall, pleased with the messages today as well. A relatively young gentleman from the Tacoma congregation who I stayed with last year gave a very moving sermonette that discussed his own wishes that he had walked with God earlier in his life and avoided some of the mistakes that he made as a young person that other people still remember and that he has had a hard time forgiving himself for. I think many of us could relate to how hard it is for us to forgive ourselves for our failings, and to feel forgiven by others and restored to good graces. I know I can. The sermon, on the other hand, was full of very intriguing stories involving young people–namely Jesus Christ as a young person in the temple, Joseph as a dreamer who God had gifted with a vivid dream life and the ability to interpret dreams accurately, and Timothy as a young man mentored by Paul as a leader, all of which are stories I think about often and wonder about their relevance to my own life. While there are some aspects of the sermon message I wish to discuss at greater length later, hopefully tomorrow evening after I return home to rest my sore feet, I would like to comment for tonight on the fact that I found it a bit unusual that the speaker wished that people would have a vivid dream life, as a way of having a vision of the glorious world tomorrow, when I have found my own vivid dream life to be a source of great torment because I dream about people and situations from my own deeply traumatic past as well as people whose presence in my own life is problematic.
After church ended I went to help out with the setup for the adult dance, except for a time where I was eating and chatting outside. The setup took a bit longer than I expected and I was glad that one of my friends picked up some dinner, even if they did forget to ask for only lettuce. As it was, I had some pretty disastrous timing for the night, and also ended up being sought as the source of the answer to many questions, ranging from who painted the lovely murals about 1910’s Paris, where someone’s leather briefcase had been put that had apparently been left in the hall after services, who had and stored the massive and impressive amount of decorations that were in the adult dance, and I was even asked help by an adorable four year old who I had met at last year’s Tacoma Weekend and who served as a flower girl in a recent wedding I attended to help her unstick her fingers from the fragile metal arch, which I happily did. It was nice to be able to help her and encourage her to go to her mother for comfort for her hurt fingers. After all, I am someone who has literally and metaphorically stuck my fingers where they should not go and found it a painful experience. The least I can do is have compassion on those who were like me. It was nice to catch up with old friends and make some new ones, and the socializing experience this evening was definitely something I enjoy. Now, if only I could get a good night’s sleep.
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