Yesterday morning, I rested on the Sabbath as I frequently do, by writing, in this case writing my next sermonette, which is about a month away. During that time I talked with my mum about what feast plans her and my stepfather were making, as they were trying to decide between St. Lucia and Colombia. When I commented on this after church to one of my friends, he wondered if St. Lucia was “too mainstream” of a place for me to want to go. I wondered if I was not thought a bit too much of a hipster, which would be rather disastrous, and if it was assumed of me that I have a sense of hostility to what is `mainstream rather than a positive attraction to what is obscure and unusual . At any rate, it led me to think a great deal about the way that my travels are viewed by others, and the reflections that people draw on my character as a result of my obviously eccentric behavior.
At services, for the most part, I was rather busy. It just so happened that this week our congregation was working out a new amp, and so as the songleader I had to work out some bugs with the sound crew. We were using the mp3 instrumental backing for the track since all of our pianists were away for the Sabbath–most of our ladies were gone to Canby for the women’s retreat in general–and I had listened to all of the songs I selected so that I would know when they slowed down or made a key change (as was the case with my last song). Although this was the first time I had ever led songs for the congregation, others thought I waved my hands around well enough, and it was enjoyable, even if I would preferred a larger audience. I was also busy not only because of that, but because I was the only Sabbath School teacher there and unable to be in two places at the same time, as all of the other teachers were either at home convalescing or in Canby. Fortunately I did not see any kids waiting around in the classrooms when I looked before services began.
The sermonette was given by a friend of mine with whom I enjoyed a dinner at our familiar feeding trough, and it reflected on the country song “Live Like You Were Dying” from Tim McGraw (2004). Reflecting on death and illness and the reality of judgment and the upcoming Passover put a rather melancholy mood on the message. The announcements were full of prayer requests–one for a member facing an upcoming surgery on a recurring benign brain tumor, another for a member who possibly had a stroke, and another for a member recovering from a fall into a column in her house that left her with a lot of bruises. The sermon was about the issue of prophecy in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 mostly, and the tension between the expectancy of believers having always lived in the last days while always waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. Again, it reflected the feeling of living like we were dying, of having to face up to the reality that we will all eventually die, and leave much work undone, but we have the responsibility to do what we can while we still live.
This general mood followed church. Whether it was in conversation after church, or at dinner, there was a general feel of reflection and even a bit of morbidity. I must admit that I tend to be a rather morbid person, something that other people probably recognize pretty easily, and at dinner there was only one person because out of the five people who have long eaten together, one is no longer alive, another was at home sick, and another had traveled to Hood River with the gentleman giving the sermon there and had stayed out very long and not returned home by the time we went out to dinner. Even the conversations tended to have a lot to do with matters of judgment and death and about the irrationality of the world around us. By the time I went home I was exhausted and soon fell asleep with the computer on, pondering why it is that men are so gloomy when they are missing the women in their lives, even if most would never mention it out loud. Without a doubt, the ladies provide a lot of life to what goes on and life is not nearly as enjoyable without them.
 See, for example: