But All Through the Blood…

We have visited several churches since coming to Florida, in hope of finding a place that nurtures our spirits and gives us a venue for nurturing the spirits of others.  The United Methodist congregation of nearly two thousand is large, active, socially involved, and as welcoming as it could be to strangers who can easily get lost in so large a gathering.  Its liturgy is familiar, but it is so big…

The Vineyard Church, although worshipping in a high school school auditorium, is a small group of people who welcome and love the stranger almost as freely as they welcome and love each other.  Their worship is enthusiastic, and their pastors are compassionate and earnest.  Their work among the poor is exceptional.  But their band is loud, and drowns out the words that are displayed on the screens overhead…and their core values are more fundamental than we are able to endorse.

The Episcopal Church is familiar in its liturgy, and centers around the Eucharist.  Its programming and outreach are normative for main-line Protestantism.  Its people are welcoming to all, but they are less socially proactive in matters that are not politically correct…and we have to dress up a little more!

The Messianic Synagogue, Gersher Shalom, is a packed store front, where ushers seek to find empty seats for worshippers. Their worship is of such holiness that tears ran down my face for the first half hour.  I knew that I was in my Father’s house.  The people are in love with Yeshua (Jesus), even as they are faithful to the rituals of their Judaism.  The music is surely an echo of Heaven, and the use of Hebrew and Spanish, along with English, is incredibly beautiful.  But, we are not sure whether we, being gentiles, are truly welcome there except as observant worshippers…

I was struggling today, as I pondered the options.  I prayed for a gentle spirit, so that I could accept and value the blessings offered by each group, and not be critical of the parts that do not appeal to me as a person.  I realize that there are so many differences among God’s people, and varying needs and personalities are comfortable with varying styles.

Varieties of people, different needs, contrasting ideas, eclectic styles…we may not find one place that meets all our criteria.  But, what a wonderful opportunity we are experiencing!  God’s people, so different, yet so similar, all saints on safari, because they bear the likeness of Jesus, Messiah, Yeshua, Son of God, Lord of Lords, King of all Kings, and all are cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us. It is all about HIM.  Alleluia!

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About Rev. Carol Crawford Rowe

Mother of two, Grandmother of six, Widow of two, Sister, Daughter, Friend, Minister and follower of Jesus Christ, Author, Lover of Life, Avid Reader, RN, Nurse Educator and Psychiatric Nurse, Retired Pastor, still in active ministry in the marketplace.
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