Revelation 22:1: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Today was a good Sunday. Because it fell at the end of a long holiday (July 4th) weekend, we combined our traditional and contemporary services at church and had a single service at 10 AM. The music was mostly contemporary, but well-handled and tastefully done by the Praise Band (and not too loud!). The Sanctuary Choir sang an anthem version of “God Bless America,” and it is interesting that when the congregation was invited to sing with us on the last verse, they stood. I attributed it to the custom of singing the song at the seventh-inning stretch during professional baseball games, and the crowd stands then. My wife Becky, who directs (among other groups) our church choir, allowed as how people stand for songs at the contemporary service. Coulda been both factors. I don’t know.
Pastor Jim Boltz preached an excellent sermon about Zaccheus under the sermon series “Is It in You?,” entitled “Finding Freedom.” The main point of the message was that the God-given freedom we have to serve does not mean we are not to be served or to live to acquire the things of this earth.
After the service, we adjourned to the front lawn of the church for baptisms in a portable pool, harking back to the historic Baptist tradition of baptizing outdoors wherever there was a body of water. Our ancestors even baptized in rivers and ponds during the winter! (They did have “warming huts” on the shore to make sure the believer’s journey to heaven was not immediately accomplished shortly after baptism.) Four people were baptized, and then we settled down for a picnic on the church lawn. It was like something out of the nineteenth century, and some days, that’s a very good thing. It certainly was today.