Yesterday morning I woke up early and spent the time before heading off to Hood River writing an article about one of my favorite stories in the Bible . This is a story I have long wanted to write about, but felt constrained about writing about until I had a good enough reason to go honey badger style and not care about the larger questions that would naturally result from my viewing a certain person in the story with such high praise. At any rate, I was pleased at being productive enough to get the post written before I had to shower and head to services. I left for services about 8AM and put gas in my car as I was at about a quarter of a tank and had lamentably failed to prepare successfully enough the previous day, and I did not want to have problems while on my way to Hood River like running out of gas. While I was getting my car filled up I chatted with the fellow at the pump, who wanted the rain to stop for the rest of the year.
With that, I drove to Hood River, and as I was approaching the tunnel I received a call from the pastor of our congregation, who was insistent on having me carpool with him so that I could save gas. Not being the sort of person who turns down requests easily, I agreed as long as we both were committed to going to choir practice as early as possible, and so I agreed to stop at a Wal-Mart  and wait for him. I ended up waiting for about ten minutes or so, and quickly the two of us were off to services in Hood River. Once we got there I found out that not only did I have the sermonette, but I also had songleading duties and the opening prayer, as the only other gentleman in the congregation not already speaking prefers, like me, to give the closing prayer. I was asked later by someone else if I should have had a special music piece planned, but I figure I was already doing enough. I would hope that no one would disagree with me there.
Services themselves went well, for the most part. Hood River is generally an appreciative audience for my messages, and I enjoy the congregation there. The sermon itself, which I heard twice, with some variations, was an excellent one as well that served as a thoughtful application of the warnings of the book of Hebrews to an aging congregation with our own aging congregations in the area, where it is easy to drift away, and to fail to do the little things like fellowship with the brethren or prepare for the Sabbath in the same way as one used to. Those are certainly lessons that I would take to heart. At least for me, the only negatives of the services in Hood River were being so overscheduled that I could not spend time with them like I would want to and that my nose decided to have its second massive nosebleed in the last two days (and this morning, before I wrote this, I had my third massive nosebleed in the last three days–this is not a good trend). Being a person concerned greatly with my own dignity and that of others, it was quite distressing to spend a large part of the message holding tissues to my right nostril (the one that tends to bleed) while my blood spurts out onto it. After the message our pastor and I spent enough time grabbing some snacks and some brief conversation, and at about noon, we were off to return to Portland.
One of the quirks about carpooling to Hood River is that one often gets awkward conversations. Since my life, as anyone who knows me knows well, is full of awkwardness, this is something I greatly expect on a regular basis . I had wondered if there was an ulterior motive for the desire to carpool, but that did not seem to be the case. To be sure, our conversations were at least mildly awkward but also mildly entertaining, as we talked about such matters as topics for sermonettes and sermons, divorces, people who need to find a wife, and so on. As we drove on the way back, our pastor noticed that his gas was empty and showed 0 miles left, and so we took the Corbett exit and went up the hill to the nearest gas station, where he put about $7, and we returned to the Wal-Mart, and we mused about the need to prepare better for the Sabbath. Once we got there I quickly got into my car and sped as fast as I could within reasonable limits to services, getting to choir practice while it was still going on. I was able to sing part of one song and two times through the song we are planning to do next week before practice was adjourned and the choir director teased me about whether I wanted to sing soprano. After the chat I prepared the room for Sabbath school.
For Sabbath School today I had the oldest two groups of kids since we were short on teachers. In the process of readying the room I broke one of the pieces that keep the room’s dividers in two, but no one would have noticed it if I would not have pointed it out to the gentleman in our congregation who serves as the liaison between ourselves and our landlords. At any rate, class went well, where we discussed the awkwardness of Elisha as as prophet. There is a good reason why Elisha is such a favorite prophet of mine, and it is a subject I will likely talk about soon. By the time that classes were done, I listened to the sermon from our pastor again that I had heard a couple of hours before. There were a few changes this time, including one mention of the passage where the author of Hebrews tells his audience that they have not yet resisted to blood, something that is not a very uncommon experience for me, unfortunately.
After services I had the opportunity to grab a few snacks, talk with a local elder who complained that my sermonette topic had stolen his thunder, chatted with our choir director at some length, where the subject of meaningful glances came up quite a bit–we are both known for our expressive eyes, to say the least–and then it was time for a friendly sermonette workshop. After that I went to dinner and chatted for three hours or so with the people there, a larger group than usual, heavily slanted away from the distaff side (both of whom were sitting close to me), and then it was time to go home. It ought to come as little surprise, perhaps, that I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home, with only enough energy to turn on my computer for a few minutes and then fall into sleep.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: