… But, at Southern, which one?
That of course is a line from a song in My Fair Lady. And not very pertinent at all to what I’m thinking about here…
… For at Southern, there are lots of church choices for our children. So in which one might they find the worship atmosphere that soothes their souls? On the off chance you were unaware of how many SDA church options our children actually have open to them, here’s the list, as listed here, on Southern’s website:
-Spanish American Church
-Chattanooga New Life
-Southern Deaf Fellowship
That’s 17 by my count. And how will my son Ryan decide? I wonder.
Here in Florida, church has always been a regular and important part of our weekly life. Not just “a” place to worship, but “our” place to worship. Our church “home”. And, over time, a church attended and participated in regularly becomes a very special place. Part of our essence; who we are.
Except now Ryan is gone to Southern and must decide for himself where his church “new home” will be. Of course part of what we love about our church home here is that Ryan is, and always will be welcome back. But we and he also know it’s important to find and establish a new place to call his own.
At the same time recognizing the wondrous fact that on any given Sabbath, there are church families the world over, big and small, gathering to worship. And in any one of those places one can enter and feel welcomed. This reality of Adventism was pressed upon me as a child by my father. We lived overseas as missionaries. Ethiopia actually. And we travelled a great deal. One Sabbath found us in Athens, Greece. My father decided we would go to church that day, so he found one near by. We all (I have three sisters!) groaned; “but dad! we won’t be able to understand anything they say!” (Looking back, we might have appropriated groaned “but dad! it’ll all be Greek to us!”)
“That’s OK” my dad would say; “this is our family; these are our people.”
This thought has stuck with me to this day. And still moves me. Adventists; our family, our people.
So, whether Ryan choses to find a particular church family and make it his own, or if he choses to travel about and experience the hospitality of the many congregations there at Southern, (or a bit of both!) I hope he can experience the wonderful breadth and depth of Adventism and find a warm embrace wherever he worships.