It was a normal Sunday night at Up Town. I had spent the last 10 minutes popping from table to table catching up with folks, laughing, gathering prayer concerns and was just starting our ‘service’. Someone commented about how nice the weather was for October and then Linda remembered this was our anniversary! We had been meeting for 9 years that night. I don’t know how the date was overlooked. We had no formal recognition of the event but the gathering was soon caught up in thanksgiving for this church family.
Chagrined I went on with the ‘regular’ service. I remembered how often Susan used to ask me “What are we doing tonight?” to which I would always reply “The same thing we do every day; try and take over the world!” Susan doesn’t come anymore, her once strong body is failing her.
We began by experiencing “The Father’s Love Letter” and letting the gratitude flow. I always ask “Who wants to go first?” J.’s hand flashed up. She got up and talked about her most recent hospitalization. She asked us to forgive her for attempting to harm herself. She received a flood of support and love.
S. read his favourite psalm telling us “from whence” our help comes. L. Shared a song from a CD which meant much to him. A. sang a song about God in the valley. J. Read an “Email From God” all the time shaking with early onset Parkinson’s.
The prayer time which followed overflowed with gratitude and the simple intercessions which followed were deep and moving. As I sat I remembered Donna, Don, and Ron who have all passed on and I recalled the tears and fears and joy which have flooded our times. I think all of us were struck with a profound thankfulness for this beautiful broken community. Our celebration would not have been improved by planning something special. What makes us special is who we are, in Christ. A friend did agree with me though that I might have bought a cake!
Next year I will get a cake and we may even find a special way of marking a decade together but what any true celebration needs is the presence of the Holy Spirit and we certainly enjoyed that!