The last church I wrote about was church #10, Saratoga Federated. The reason I haven’t written about any since is because I have landed at Saratoga Federated. The first time I went to the 9:00 service which is contemporary, but then I tried the traditional service at 10:30 and really liked it!
The 10:30 service has an orchestra, a choir, an organ, and a harp. Last week the harpist also played a bigger set of handbells all by herself than the bell choir I was part of played between the five or six of us!
Today I finally got to hear the regular pastor, Gabe, who just got back from a couple weeks of working in an orphanage in Romania with severly handicapped young people. He talked about a time when he was working on this morning’s sermon and some of the people he was with called to invite him to come to the orphanage again. At first he begged off because he had this important thing to prepare for, and then he realized that he needed to go play with the kids at the orphanage.
His sermon this morning was from the gospel of Mark, where Jairus came to ask Jesus to heal his daughter who was dying, and along the way, Jesus stopped to ask who had touched His garments. Gabe said that Christ’s timing isn’t our timing. During the time that Jesus stopped, Jairus’s daughter died. But it was as important for Jesus to let the woman with the bleeding disease know that she was a much loved daughter of God as it was for Him then to raise Jairus’s much loved daughter from the dead. He said that while it may seem that God has abandoned us in our hour of need, God is right there hurting with us. I needed to hear this.
After the service, there was a wonderful luncheon followed by a talk given by several women and a man who went to South Africa this summer to help build houses. They spoke about the divisions that linger between whites and blacks in South Africa, and how they not only helped build walls, but also helped break walls down as white Africans saw them going into the slums and black Africans told them they were the first white people who had cared to get to know them. I have been hearing so much in the last few months about churches sending teams to Africa to help this last summer. Has this been going on for a long time, or was this last summer the African summer? It has certainly been interesting hearing from many different perspectives what God has been doing there.