It was Wednesday, 6:30 pm, and the worship team was tuning up for rehearsal. Fifteen year old electric guitarist Thomas wandered over to the piano where I was seated and casually remarked, “I’ve got the perfect idea for your retirement. You should get a tattoo that says ‘no regerts.’” We both laughed.
Five minutes later the eight of us were ready for Marja’s opening prayer and her walk through the coming Sunday’s morning service, four teenagers and four of us older folks with many decades of worship leading experience behind us.
Tiffany. Sherman. Webster. Albion. Devil’s Punchbowl. Over the last 8 years, these and several of the other 100+ waterfalls in Hamilton, ON, have become my friends. Admittedly, I feel a bit weird describing these locations as friends, as if my social relationships now include inanimate objects. But quite honestly, I know these waterfalls better – and likely have more pictures from my time with them - than I do with 90% of the people I’m connected to via my social media accounts.
Every congregation knows what it is to go through some kind of major change or transition. Most of us have experienced transitions between pastors - with vacancy, interim, search and finally call. Many of us have lived through, or rather survived a building renovation - paint chips, fabric samples and floor tiling strewn about while the unabating construction dust makes us feel like we’re permanently living in Ash Wednesday.
Not long ago I found myself on a Sunday morning visiting a church where some friends of mine are the pastors—Jim and Steve the lead pastors, and Mark in charge of music (their names have been changed here). The worship was wonderful – strong preaching wedded to both missional and sacramental sensibilities. The people were friendly, the music eclectic and excellent, the Spirit alive in the sanctuary. Yet there were a few moments where I cringed when we sang songs with sexist language in them.