For those of us who choose to worship in small churches, at least those in southwest Georgia, our responsibilities are clearly defined. There are so few of us, we all have to do most everything. Like – everything.
At Elmodel Presbyterian, at the corner of Georgia Highway 37 and Jericho Road, each woman who so chooses, whether a member or not, signs up at the beginning of each year to be the Hostess for a Month. Don’t get too excited. There is no plaque, or honorable mention in the church bulletin, or even a special monogrammed apron for the said hostess.
When I was teaching high school English literature, I tried to make the pieces we were studying together relevant – especially Shakespeare.
A quick rundown of the plot of “Romeo and Juliet”: an impetuous teenage boy falls in love with a teenage girl at a masquerade ball. It is only after they have fallen in love that they realize their parents are engaged in a generations-long feud. A feud so serious that on the day the play begins, the Prince declares the next person from either family to disturb the peace of the community with their senseless feud will be executed. Of course, as is typical of Shakespeare, multiple tragedies ensue shortly thereafter.
Sunday brings with it the promise of a fresh start, an opportunity for change, a new way forward. Sunday’s place on the calendar is consistent. For centuries, it has come once every six days and follows Saturday. No surprises.
Sunday, unlike the other six days of the week, is rumored to be a day of rest. I’m not sure for whom that is true, but that is beside the point. Although considered the first day of the week, it is the final day before a five day stretch of the haram-scaram, free-for-all otherwise known as our normal Monday-Friday routine.
For whatever reason (theories abound) I frequently overlook the fact that just like every other day, Sunday is made up of only 24 hours. For it is on Sunday that I try to jam as much as possible into the handful of hours allotted before Monday morning.
Everyone has a sacred space. A place that allows time for quiet and adjustment, a reset, a place to listen for God. It’s a deeply personal space and can be found almost anywhere: a bedroom, broom closet, inside the car on a morning commute. Some can even create space in their own minds, no matter where they are. Folks around here will tell you they find God on tractors, in gardens or front porches, even deer stands. One of my students wrote once about finding God in a duck blind on Christmas Eve morning when misty fog still covered the lake.
My sacred space is our century-old country church, the actual, physical building. Theologians warn that church buildings should not be so important in the life of a Christian. A valid argument is made that the church universal – a living, breathing congregation of like-minded people – is more important than a physical space. I understand the point and I agree; however, I also believe both can be true, especially in Elmodel.