Remembering 'The Real Church"
A recent visitor commented at the door, "This reminds me of a real church, like the one I grew up in."
The architecture alone would be enough remind someone of The Real Church of their childhood. Perhaps the visitor means to say 'A Real Church' as in classical early American. Or, perhaps what was meant is reference to the hymns (we had three oldies but goodies that Sunday). Or, the simplicity of the liturgy or order of service might be another point of reference.
The comment was a compliment to the decades of tradition built up around KCC. It reminds (some) visitors of a day largely past; sanctified nostalgia; the faith rooted in tradition.
However, for others, the architecture, hymns, sermon and service demonstrate not a Real church but an Irrelevant, boring or out of touch congregation; happily stuck in the past. A few visitors 'connect' with us and return; many do not.
I think every week about those who do not return to what we think of as a Real Church. I feel badly when people do not return, but not very. We are what we are. The architecture, the hymns and all the rest, including us, are the church because the Gospel (as we seek to understand it) makes the church Real. So too the Sacraments, and the people (you and me), and the love we share and the service to others less fortunate that we try to give. We are far from perfect, but no congregation is. For all of our antique trappings, we are thankful for what the Holy Spirit makes out of us -- The Real Church.
Bless you all.
One of the benefits/blessings of life within a congregation is that we are brought face to face with our own mortality, our own passing, our own death. It is easier to avoid this final event in our lives if we never think about it. A congregation, with people being born and dying, brings us face to face with our own mortality. (No wonder many want nothing to do with the church since death is at the core of the Christian message.)
Sue McCoy was a saint of our congregation. I will miss her; we will miss her.
I hope this classic, centuries-old hymn from Norway, written by Hans Broson 300 years ago, is sung at my funeral. It is 'Who Is This Host Arrayed in White' and I share it with you, having Sue McCoy in mind.
O blessed saints now take your rest;
A thousand times shall you be blest;
For keeping faith firm unto death
And scorning worldly trust.
For now you Live at home with God
And harvest seeds once cast abroad;
In tears and signs.
See with new eyes the pattern in the seed.
The myriad angels raise their song.
O saints, sing with that happy throng;
Life up one voice;
Let heav'n rejoice
In our Redeemers song!
Bless you all,
Dear KCC Members and Friends,
On Sunday, we said prayers for Sue McCoy in church and on Monday we learned of her passing. What a gift she was to our congregation -- a leader, a caring and active member, and a friend to so many of us. Together with Sue Crockett, she founded Women of the World (WOW) and was instrumental in keeping it going, even when membership was low. Think of any committee or look at photo albums of church activities and you'll see Sue -- right there in the thick of things. People with Sue's knowledge, vision, and commitment are very special, and we were lucky to have her with us. She will be fondly remembered and deeply missed.
This is a tough week to write and share a message of relevant meaning. We have lost a stalwart in Sue McCoy and we grieve her passing. At the same time, we gather together to seek comfort in each other and in our faith, to listen to beautiful music, and to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Life goes on and so we are compelled to ask, “What would Sue do?” Certainly she would mourn with us. But Sue also would celebrate with us, urging us to hold both emotions in each of our palms. It is the stuff of life and it is the essence of being mortal. It speaks to the core of who we are and to the challenge of what we strive to believe.