First, on this warm Tuesday morning I want to thank you as a church for some wonderful time off last week. Wednesday and Thursday I camped out at Camp Buckner and had some much needed time of spiritual retreat and sermon preparation for the summer. Friday I took the day off and Kelley and I went home to Kenedy for my cousin Gina’s wedding. She was a beautiful bride and it was a beautiful wedding. I was honored to be a part of it. Thank you for the time off. Thank you Ken Flowers for filling in Wednesday evening and Thank you Don Barber for preaching Sunday morning.
Sunday morning I was able to worship with FBC Kenedy. It was the first time I have worshipped there in quite a while, and I always enjoy it. It is always encouraging to see how much has changed and also how much has stayed the same. I sat with a friend of mine who I grew up with and was actually born on the exact same day as me. We commented on how many new faces and families were there that weren’t 10 years ago. So many children, babies, and young families. In a town that is 75% (app) Hispanic, it was good to see diversity in the congregation. It was good to see this fresh infusion of energy and faith into this wonderful longstanding church.
At the same time, much of what I love about FBC Kenedy is still the same. My grandparents sitting just to the left of me in their same pew, intently reading their Bibles as the sermon began. Truett Hunt, a life long member of FBC praying in his eloquent ways, “O Lord of our long strewn battle lines, watch over us sinners,” and then ending his prayer with a doxology of praise. One of my best friend’s dad (as a kid we used to time is prayers because they were so long) praying his long, but incredibly heartfelt prayer. Rachel and I, feeling the glares of our fathers, as we whispered and laughed during the children’s sermon. Some things always stay the same!
As a kid, Mr. Hunt’s prayers seemed antiquated and contrived. Weldon’s prayers seemed severely long and boring, and my parents’ stares seemed condemning. As a young pastor returning home for just one weekend, both all that has stayed the same and all that has changed were the very words of God filling my soul as I saw this family in new light; I think, in a truer, more revealing light.
But, I missed Rick leading music and Kim and Mandi singing and playing the piano (we are SO blessed to have them). I missed hearing my family of faith pray, sing, and worship. I missed preaching and looking out on all of your faces as you respond to God working in you. I missed visiting with you all before Church and hugging you all after Church. I even missed that high school auditorium (and I very much longed for that worship space on the hill!)
It was wonderful to worship with the people that used to be my family of faith. This Sunday, it will be even more wonderful to worship with you all who are now my family of faith. With love in my heart, I will see you Sunday.