Friday, April 3, 2015

Church #39. First Baptist Church.

Before we go any further, I need to say this. When I see any church with the word "First" in the name, this immediately comes to mind.

There was no wedding ceremony happening at the First Baptist Church today, but it was still very beautiful inside.

Love the banner epically, I had to spend some time looking at it before my mind could comprehend it. I was told it was originally designed by a famous artist, and took a very committed team of ladies to put it together. I really love the glow it puts on the glass sky scrapers. Because it reminds me of something that came up in the news a while back. See the link below!

"Mary in The Glass". Clearwater, Florida, USA.

Population of this church 100-ish? Mix of seniors and families.  And for the record there are kids here. Lots of them. When they called them for their separate Sunday school lesson, there was about 30 of them that left the room. Maybe I could not see fully being so far back, but it looked like there was few really "little ones". Everyone by my guess looks 5 years of age and older.

Bells rang and the service started, the choir poured the sound of worship over the church like an avalanche. Literately. I have never encountered a choir that starts their performance on the high balcony at the back of the church, and then progresses to the lower floor, and towards the front of the church. When the performance started it really took me back, I had to stop and think for a moment, after turning around in my pew did I see where all this sound was coming from.

And yet Another surprise! The regular pastor who was supposed to be leading the service had fallen seriously ill and was in hospital. We were told that he is now doing better and "might be eating Jello" at the moment, but we can't be sure. The pastor taking his place said the he had noted that  he was asked to sing "2 Lionel Richie Songs." But that was not going to happen. Amongst the announcements there was also a notice advertizing baptism preparation and ceremony for anyone who feels that they might be are ready. The pastor proclaimed that "There will be water in the tank!"  and that "we would love to get you in the tank!". It was also mentioned that Easter Sunday is a great day to be baptized!

I am going to admit to this right now. I got down very little note on this service just because I didn't want to get distracted and miss any of it. It was literately that good. If I had to put words to it I would describe it as, clear, comprehensive, relateable, honest, and with a slights sense of humor. I give it 5 church pews out of 5.  You guys rock!

The topic was on the last supper, and Christ doing the lowly task of washing his fellow disciples feet before dinner. They insisted that this task is far below his status as such a respected Rabi and nearly degrading in their view. Each disciple had a different reaction to him as he preformed this task, many objected to what he was doing. The speaker touched on a few of them. After he was done  Christ said "What I am doing right now you will not understand, but you will understand latter."I think god does a whole lot of this in our lives. Often it takes time for things to come full circle for us to realize what value, or lesson we were taught us in the past, and how God has used that to shape our future. The pastor also requested that a few volunteers come to the front of the church and stand bear-foot, as he taught his lesson and finished with prayer.  Personalty I find this very interesting. I have many people argue with me that there is no prof of solid fact in the bible and it is just a big story book with everything made up. But honestly the more I read it, the more I find these people hard to believe. The fineness of some of the detail, and not always nice detail, really surprises me sometimes. Some of such detail reflects the personalities, attitudes and  idiosyncrasies of each disciple.  I hope to study more on the individual personalities of each disciple latter and write on it. As a trained journalist, I don't feel this was made up.

One of my favorite quotes of the day has to be "our God is an Awkward God." Which as by today's sermon we can see is true, and noticeably prevalent in the rest of my bible readings. He gets his followers to do some really odd and uncomfortable things some days, but it all has purpose. If you don't believe me check this one out! ( Why did Isaiah the prophet preach naked?)  And if you know me, you know that I am terribly awkward. And somewhat socially inept. It makes my life rough some days, trust me. But I believe like Gods actions it all has purpose. In-fact it might be my greatest strength in this whole project. Most people could never emotionally or socially handle doing this project. Me I walk though this like Christ walks on water. I don't even need to ask questions, I just go. Not saying I am all that special or nothing. But I am sure this is all part of the plan. Another favorite quote of mine.

"We are cleansed and cleaned for beautiful work."
"All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our god." 
" You can not take a persons foot into your hands without getting really close to them!"

After the service I was able to ask about this "Tank" cause I had no idea where it was. It was actually right in-front of my nose the whole time. See where the hands are? There a tank in there!

Besides the two entrances, this tank also features a water heater control and  a "Fill Line", which was hand drawn in pen, on the inside of the tank.

And the orgaist, let me just say this guy must be a fan of old horror/drama  or maybe action films? because his playing definitely reflects it. If anyone in the future is directing  the next Batman movie and  needs an organist for the musical number, I recommend this guy.

 Over all great church! Just a truly enjoyable environment. So next time you drive by, I suggest you stop in!

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