Sunday at the beach is always a special day. Whether you worship on the beach, in the quiet of the morning with your coffee in a comfy chair, or you find a place of worship close by. We researched nearby churches and found Fair Haven Methodist Church. We decided to go!
Oh how beautiful and moving. I knew if we went we would be prompted and encouraged by a message straight to the heart. This was a morning of listening not only to the message but to the conversations of the people. They were invested in their local school, children of the community, and knew each other’s prayer requests. They talked to each other with joy and concern. Precious moments:
They have a time of celebrations in which you raise your hand and share a praise.
“I’m thankful for my 84th birthday party with my family. We had coconut shrimp and mac and cheese. There were so many people there you couldn’t breathe!” Parish and I laughed at the mac and cheese comment. We had taken a quiz on the most popular side dish for Thanksgiving, and Virginia proclaimed mac and cheese as their favorite. Parish was shocked by this proclamation, and he wondered if he were truly a Virginian. Well, guess what, honey, some people celebrate with mac and cheese.
A little boy behind her, raised his hand, and he wanted us to know he turned 10 years old and had army men on his birthday cake. He was the same child who couldn’t keep still during the music. He also wanted us to know that his mother’s birthday and father’s birthday is in….he couldn’t think of the month, so his mom said, “February”, and commented on how sweet her son was to remember and speak this aloud.
The message was centered on Aaron and Hur propping up Moses’s arms during battle. He shared a story of a farmer who would pray aloud at church and ask God to “Prop him up on his leaning side.”
Often when I pray, I think of my good friend that was a deacon and always prayed:
“Lord, prop me up on my leaning side.”
After hearing him pray that prayer many times, I asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently. He answered,
“Well sir, you see, it’s like this. I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time, it’s withstood a lot of weather, it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years.”
“It’s still standing, but one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side, so it wouldn’t fall.”
“Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I have been around a long time, I have withstood a lot of life’s storms, I have withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I have withstood a lot of hard times, I have developed a bunch of bad habits, and I’m still standing, too.”
“But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop me up on my leaning side, because I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times.”
“Sometimes we get into the bad habits of leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning towards not taking good care of our selves, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t, so I need to pray:”
“Lord, prop me up on my leaning side,”
“So that I will once again, stand straight and tall.”
The pastor reminded us that our “leaning life” is better than a perfectly grounded structure, because it has character and the stories of all the times God has worked in our lives. He emphasized the importance of propping each other up when troubles come. He opened up to share his diagnosis of anxiety and how a friend recently propped him up and prayed for him.
Parish and I were comforted individually and as a couple. We are the shed leaning. We need God to prop us up, and we need each other. I thought of all the friends and family in my life that prop us up and desire to see us whole and happy. Thank you. When a friend of mine sent a text about the wording in a few of my posts, I was encouraged. Her words propped me up. I also have a few beautiful songs to listen to this morning. Music shared between friends.
We made up a little song! We were sitting around the table discussing the sermon, and I started making up a song. I couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with “down” , and Parish added his line. We laughed at our spontaneous creativity.
The closing prayer was an invite to the alter for prayer and propping. I noticed a man in front of us holding the hymnal book out to the left of him for his wife; yet, she had walked up for prayer. That automatic consistency of being there at the ready made me tear up. I spoke with him after and asked how many years he and his wife had been married. He did the math and shared, “I think about 42 years…” I told him that I could tell and what I noticed. He said, “I did too, after awhile, I found myself holding it that way and thought how silly….” I shared with him how it ministered to me, and he teared up. There we were two strangers connecting for a short while to encourage each other. May our love be so solid we automatically and consistently are there for each other. I told him that it wasn’t silly, it was was encouraging.
The rest of the day was filled with adventures. Thank you God for propping us up.
The church had beautiful stained glass windows. The light shining through the glass quickened my heart. The stories from the Bible were brought to life!
Some of our music for the day, and I noticed little Adelaide’s song, “Do Lord, Remember Me”!
Kim! We found Beach Marker 27!
Can you see the face? Victoria remember the story about “The Froggy Dog” I made up for you on the way back from the beach? You were about 7 years old. A great picture popped up on Facebook today.
The Summerwinds deck overlooking the sound is a great afternoon meditation for reading, writing, painting, and singing. The stars at night were spectacular! We saw Venus, Saturn, and Cygnus!