Life and Love and Enthusiasm in a Church Near You! (Derek & Rebekah go to church…)

I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.

I will sing praises to God so long as I draw breath!

Psalm 104:33
– Sunday morning at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian

It looks like we’re narrowing down the “Derek & Rebekah go to church” experience. Accordingly, we returned to Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church this weekend on another spectacular fall Sunday morning.

Again, we felt very much at home.

This “feeling at home” thing is so impossible to get a handle on; it never fits neatly into what we would expect on the surface. None of the church services we enjoyed the most have even vaguely resembled what we have been used to, nor the particular style that has marked Rebekah’s leadership – especially as senior pastor in Brandon and in Wake Forest!

The last time we heard a guitar played in worship was at WFPC, August 1st. The preachers have all been sporting clerical robes. The sanctuary set ups have been uber-traditional – long with front-facing pews, whereas we have been accustomed to chairs, arranged “in the round”.

Yet Rebekah and I have felt absolutely comfortable, consistently inspired, warmly welcomed, and thoughtfully instructed.

So what is familiar?

– Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church

So, while the familiarity we may have been seeking has not necessarily been found in form, it is absolutely present in spirit – or should I say Spirit.

We are beginning to feel comfortable because we can sense a body of believers who love God deeply, who follow Jesus passionately, who are not afraid to be filled with the Spirit, who are grounded in scripture, who are committed to mission, who love on another without judgment, and who believe that The Church remains a critical witness to and invitation into new life in Jesus.

This was certainly apparent at Hudson Memorial yesterday:

  • Pastor Mac Schafer has a big personality and a buoyant spirit – he preached an important and encouraging message with enthusiasm and energy.
  • The church was well attended.
  • We saw a lot of young families with small children.
  • And – again – the music was exceptional.

Singing in Church:

And I have to say this about singing. We have been present at services where COVID protocols do not allow congregational singing, and we have attended worship where people are masked up but welcome to sing. The difference is beyond huge! Because there is something about singing together that touches the soul in a unique way and to me it makes all the difference.

There is a long list of Presbyterian – PC(USA) – congregations in and around Raleigh where vitality abounds, and where life, love, hope, and faithfulness shine, and where Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples is carried out with enthusiasm and joy.

Thanks to Mac Schafer, Debbie Kirk, and the good people at Hudson Memorial. I’m sure we will see you again soon.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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