Susan's field season ended early last week (she tends maize for genetic research), and the Columbia Public Schools starts again tomorrow (the kid is a 9th grader), so we took a quick trip up to Minnesota to visit some old friends from our congregation.
When we left, the temperature in both places had been in triple digits, but on our arrival in St. Paul, the days turned cooler, with highs in the 70s, and the nights were downright chilly, with lows in the 50s and 60s. We used a comforter for the first time in many weeks, and it felt strange at first. We may have to leave Columbia more often when the weather turns hot...
Along with sharing our friends' house, we were also privileged to worship with them Sunday morning. The preaching was good and the hymns were mostly familiar (they use the newer blue PC(USA) hymnal). There were some differences, though. They had a praise band and projected the words on the wall behind the pulpit, and there was a fair amount of "dead air" during the service. I don't mean this in a derogatory way at all; the time for personal confession of sin seemed quite a bit longer than the 15-20 seconds we are used to. It was refreshing to not feel rushed to complete my personal confession. And the pastoral prayer was pretty much interactive with time allocated for people to add their own spoken prayers. In addition, the worshipers were given an opportunity to write out specific requests and place them in the offering, and these too were read by the pastor.
It is refreshing to see how other PC(USA) congregations worship. We may do things a little differently, but we share the same Lord, Faith, and Baptism -- and we felt just as welcome as we do in our local neck of the Presbyterian woods.