More Reflections from the Prodigal

We wrapped up our brutal 8th grade retreat this morning by worshipping at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls.  Our ragamuffin crew staggered into the 8:30 worship service, and I was, once again, overcome with feelings of nostalgia.

  • I saw my old confirmation mentor for the first time in years.  Calvin personifies unique; a man who deserves his own article (or more).  Suffice it to say it was a joy to get one of his 6’3″ 350 lb. bear hugs.
  • My mom directs the Cherub choir and Adult choir.  Both of them sang at the early service.  Mom does such a nice job with both groups.  It was the first time I had been in worship and NOT sung in the choir since 1993.
  • We lit candles to remember the saints in the middle of the worship service (All Saints Day).  During that time the names of the congregation members who had died in the past year were read aloud – including a man who sang in the Adult choir for 55 years and the person who was congregational president when I was confirmed.
  • The person sitting in front of me in worship was the pastor of the church when I was confirmed.  (He left the church a few years I did and started teaching at a nearby college.)  The last time I shook his hand was when I was 15 years old and had just told him I was leaving the church.  I can’t remember the last time “passing the peace” came wish such strong feelings of redemption.
  • A pious old man named Norm sings in the adult choir as well.  He is notorious for two things: arriving 30 minutes early and taking attendance of who shows up on time.  Norm is the physical equivalent of Bilbo Baggins at the end of “Return of the King”.  Such a great man; but not the first person I necessarily want to see first thing in the morning.

I came home by 12:00 and had lunch with the family.  Isaac and I just sat down to watch a little Jesus Christ Superstar during rest time.  After the scene where Jesus chastises Judas for picking on Mary (“not one…NOT ONE OF YOU!“), Isaac looks at me and says, “Jesus is a strange little man!”.  

It’s good to be home…


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