How about Easter Sunday, the sanctuary is filled, and the service is about to start. After the announcements, there is a video introducing the new sermon series called “Spring Training.” This is also our introduction to Sparky and his special way of talking about what it means to be a community of faith. It’s not just that these are great videos; clever, well-made, funny and right on point… it’s all that went into making them, the reaction of all you to them, the way that all I have to do today is say the word, “Sparky,” and I watch smiles appear.
Here is the link for YouTube in case you want a few chuckles not to mention the sense of inspiration that comes with being a part of a community that claims something like this.
Or what about this: it’s our youth pastor Andrew and the youth mission trip getting ready to head out very early on July 3. If you enlarge this you can see that everyone is smiling. It’s just the beginning of 10 days of traveling in the van, living in some high school room and working all day painting a house or conducting a vacation Bible school, but in all the other pictures I’ve seen they are also smiling. We can count the number of people who go on these trips, but I have no idea how to measure the difference these trips, which we make sure happen every year, have in the life of these youth and adults. I’ve heard phrases like “I’ll never forget it,” and “life changing,” and “I can’t tell you all that it means to me.” I’ve also heard a lot of grateful “what did you do to my teenager” from a lot of parents who see something different, something deeper coming out in their children.
Then there is the Hallelujah chorus, the Cantata, and all that Don and Tim and the choir and praise team and bell choir bring out in us through sharing their gift of music. I’m remembering the time we were singing and the choir members are in their robes, and Tim is doing his thing on the piano. We are in the vernacular of musicians, “cooking” as a congregation. Then I decide to try to lead us in clapping our hands. Technically it was a mistake. But then a couple of youth, one or two of our robed choir members and I think even Don stepped up (or did I beg all of them to come up) and we got the beat right and we sang and laughed and praised God in a way that was so real and genuine and well… loud that you would have thought there were twice as many people there.
There are of course so many other things, like the sheer awesomeness of our VBS that Deb Sonderholm our Children’s’ Ministry coordinator, coordinates. Above, you see the VBS choir singing “Great Things are Happening, Right Here! Right Now!”
Personally for me the, “Intangible of the Year at EPUMC” happened just last week. It’s the story I told at the end of Sunday’s sermon. In case you missed it, I was talking with Craig Brattebo cleaning up in the kitchen. He had just spent time with our elementary kids. The activity for the evening was the annual 3rd graders get to paint a cinder block in the basement. You really should take the time to go look at these, yes they are cute, but they also say something about what our children are learning. Anyway Craig tells me that when they invited the kids to think of something to paint on their cinder block about our church one kid immediately says, “Big Enough to Make a Difference, Small Enough to Care.”
When I told this story on Sunday there was an audible “ohhhh or ahhh.” I’m not sure just what the sound was, it wasn’t a very loud sound but it was one of the most important moments in the life of our congregation that I have experienced. We’ve spent the entire year exploring what it means to use Big Enough to Make a Difference, Small Enough to Care as our mission statement. To have a 3rd grader get it -- well, it sends shivers down my soul.
This intangible moment, like all the rest, tell us that we are doing something right. They tell us that God is calling us toward a (w)holy purpose.
I’m very curious to know what is your “Intangible Moment of the Year at EPUMC.” What have been the times, the moments when numbers or anything else didn’t matter except what matters the most to us here, the presence of the risen Christ. When did Jesus reach out and touch your life. I want to invite you to take the time to remember one of those moments today and if you have a moment or two give me an email….I’ll find a way to share them....
Keep the Faith,