Lisa and I were blessed to join the saints at St. Paul, Hamel for Divine Service this morning. Besides the beautiful music and excellent homily preached by Pr. Weedon, the best thing about our visit was that it felt like home. Okay, so the best thing was that we received Jesus in Word and Meal, but you mean what I know. :) It is a most blessed thing to be away from your parish, but to still feel right at home. That's how it should be, but, sadly, it isn't always the case. In fact, the past couple of times I have visited LCMS congregations while away, I found myself asking, "Where in the world am I?" But, not today. Today I knew exactly where I was. I was home. And the cool thing is that next Sunday, when I'm back serving at my home parish, I'll be receiving the Lord's Divine Gifts with the saints in Hamel and everywhere else in this world where the Gospel is preached in its purity and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution. I dearly wish that those brothers and congregations in our synod who opt to do "their own thing" would take into consideration the catholicity of the Church and our Lutheran confession of the faith and just focus on being the Church in that place, nothing more and nothing less, so that visitors from sister congregations would experience that wonderful feeling of being home, as I did today. Instead, it seems as though they're more concerned with meeting the "felt needs" of the "unchurched" than they are with seeing to it that our Lord takes care of the actual needs of their own brothers and sisters in the faith. Sad, that.
Anyway, it was great to be home today. And, as a bonus, we got to chat with Jeff Schwarz, who is a member at St. Paul, and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway and her friend, Julia, who were visiting as we were, after the Service. And then, as an added bonus to that, Pr. Weedon and his wife, Cindi, graciously invited Lisa and I, and Mollie and Julia over to their home for lunch, which was simply wonderful. The food and the conversation were both delicious. What an honor to be able to sit and chat with these wonderful people of God - doesn't get much better than that!
Here's a pic taken in the narthex after the Service (I think I'll frame this one and hang it in my office!):