Since we arrived at Chautauqua Institution at 1am last night, we slept in missing the beginning of the spine-chilling opening with the 5640-pipe Massey Memorial Organ leading the congregation in singing Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea) in the open Amphitheater. As we stood in line for my morning java, we heard the Doxology, meaning the offering was being presented in its unique, moving tradition bringing a tingle or tear to most. Grandson Kevin has never experienced these moments as he is usually in the children’s Sunday School program.
Since I was not in the choir this morning, it was the first time to drag an reluctant child to “church.” Plus he had already missed two of the more awesome moments of the morning. We found our seats in time for the sermon.
The topic of Raphel B. Warnock+, from Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, was “Our Father in Heaven.” He tossed out multiple one-liners grabbing even the attention of a 10 year old! In mentioning Jesus’ first miracle of turning water to wine, he quipped, “The water became so overcome that the water became blush.” “Prayer is text messaging with the Eternal.”
He came to the heart of his message: “OUR Father who art in heaven.” We are ALL the Father’s children.
Our super connectivity with the world yields more individual isolation. Everyone has his own phone as the family travels in the car together. Each person talks on the phone to his own personal friend. We used to take group photos at graduations and parties. Now we take selfies. We think we can do this faith-thing on our own; we only consider what God can do for us ALONE! NO! We are in this together! Hanging out with the family is important! Hanging out with other Christians is important!
“Forgiveness comes from disapproval.” A heavy quote! Together we have authentic connection to God: “Our Father” includes everyone! “We possess God, but do not own Him” — similar to possessing our house but the bank owns it.
“Our” signifies joint ownership. “Father” signifies intimacy. We can call God and He always answers the call. God does not have a secretary to take our calls.
The next phrase, “in heaven,” denotes the sovereignty of God. God is in charge! Daddy owns the company!
“Do you know who your Daddy is? We have Cosmic Companionship!”
Morning Worship ends with Jared Jacobson rendering a major organ work displaying the organ’s beauty and Jared’s extreme facility. Today’s was “Tu Es Petra by Henry Mulet 1919. Kevin’s response was, “Can we come to this church more often?”
(Kevin personally experienced this organ. Half way through this blog post, you can read about his encounter with the Massey Organ.)