The holy Sabbath

In spite of the warmth and the cloudless skies of yesterday, when Mark and I went to bed last night we heard rain on our roof.  It rained off and on all night.  Mark didn’t sleep well last night so he can testify to that.

This morning we called in to work and were told that Todd wasn’t there yet so we should come in.  However when we got there, Todd said it was too wet for the time being and we should call back at noon.  Mark and I went home and went back to bed to sleep some more.

I woke up around 9:00 and got on my computer.  Last night when Mark and I were trying to find the Laundromat, he saw on our GPS that there is a Mennonite church in town.  I looked it up and discovered that their service began at 10:30 and the church is just down the street from us.  Mark was still sleeping at 10:15 so I got in the car and went by myself.

There is no sign outside the church saying what kind of church it is.  I guess they used to have a sign but someone ran over it.  They currently have no pastor, but I just happened to arrive on a day when they had a guest speaker.  Not including the guest speaker and myself, there were eight congregants this morning, one of whom was a young boy.  Five of the congregants were women, four of whom were elderly.  The two men were both disabled.  They are not only warm and friendly, but they’ve got determination on their side.  People thought that when their pastor left they would fold, but they love their church and they are all taking a part in keeping it going until they can find another pastor.

A woman named Cindy (I’ll call this one Mennonite Cindy) was about to play the piano for the hymns and then she turned around on the bench and said, “I’d like to ask our guest, do you play the piano?”  I said no and just the briefest flash of disappointment crossed her face.  She can read music, but I wouldn’t call her an accomplished pianist by a long shot.  I wouldn’t call the congregants accomplished singers either.  I looked in their hymnal and found my all-time favorite hymn.  Mennonites jokingly call it the Mennonite Doxology.  In Portland Mennonite, a large congregation I used to be a member of, this hymn was sung with much gusto and joy.  I asked for it this morning and it was difficult to pick out the tune.  Still it was good to hear some rendition of it after all these years.

After the short service, several of the members talked with me in the narthex.  I had come dressed in my work clothes, not knowing if I would have to go to work this afternoon or not, but Cindy said if I didn’t have to work I should come to the Harvest Festival in Glendive City Park.  One of the men explained to me how to get there.

I came home and Mark and I had lunch.  Then he called in and found out that work was canceled all day today.  When he hung up, he said, “How would you like to go to the Harvest Festival this afternoon?”  What a treat!

As soon as we arrived I knew I had made a mistake in not remembering to bring my camera.  The city park is in an area of homes that are quite nice.  They remind me of NW Portland for my readers who are familiar with that area.  The park was full of people and we were fortunate to find a place to park.  There were vending trucks on the street selling food, including one that sold lefse.  There was a tractor and wagon giving children a hay ride around the block.  There was a Farmer’s Market where people brought their home canned goods and things they had made to sell.  Of the home canned goods, I saw my first mint jelly, cinnamon pickles, and gooseberry jam.  They had a pumpkin rolling game for the children, a contest to choose the best scarecrow, a homemade salsa tasting contest where the crowd voted for the ones they liked best.  There was a Thai woman there selling beautiful silk scarves and Thai cookies.

The cutest thing though, was the dance school show.  They had girls from kindergarten through junior high demonstrating ballet and tap dance routines they had learned.  A couple of the routines had little girls dressed as witches and bats for the Halloween season.  Mark and I both laughed and clapped for the adorable girls.

Right before we left we were going to try a cider press, but a man before us brought so many apples that he had leftover cider and he gave us a sample.  It was delicious!

When we came home, Mark spent the afternoon puttering around the house while I caught up on my Bible reading.  I am having readings sent to me every day that will get me through the Bible in a year.  I haven’t had time to do my daily readings since we’ve been on this job, so I spent the afternoon reading parts of Revelations, Nehemiah, Esther, and Psalms.  One thing I read that I can’t remember seeing before was in Revelations where it says that the prayers of the saints are gold bowls filled with incense before the throne of God.  What a confirmation that God does hear our prayers!

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