Monday, July 02, 2007

Going Home?

Returning to a place where you are loved deeply is disorienting. Martha and I have been in the Twin Cities all weekend, driving over 600 miles back and forth to wedding events and connecting with friends and family. Yesterday we worshiped at Salem together for the first time since we left 2 years ago. We were barely able to get in for the service, hugging and greeting old friends along the way. Mark Pattie, the new senior pastor, was most gracious to let me borrow an alb for the wedding. He too greeted me most warmly after the service, along with Kay and Bev. It happened to be the last Sunday for the Contemporary Worship Coordinator who is taking a position with another Covenant Church on the East Coast.
What touched my heart the most was the organ and Cindy Reents' way of playing hymns. I never knew how much my heart responds to such musical artistry through the organ. Her way of interpreting each stanza of every hymn differently welled up my eyes with tears. Salem has a deep musical heritage unlike any chuch I've been a part of. Yet, the emerging contemporary service created so much pain and conflict. Seeing Jeff announce his departure, brought back those memories as well.
We tried to launch a contemporary service along-side two traditional, liturgical services.What began as a non-competitive idea turned into an entrenched conflict of polarized viewpoints and narsh words. I wish Mark and the staff God's guidance and grace as they negotiate the next chapeter in Salem's life. So, while I miss Cindy at the organ and the great choral strength of Salem, I am so grateful to be at MCC where the spirit regarding music and worship is one of open-eyed adventure and excitement about learning and growing. We do not have a pipe organ and probably never will, but we also do not have battle lines and wounded relationships.
Visiting my parents, staying with our son, eating with old friends, driving through familiar neighbors all seemed so easy and natural, but it's not home any more. Watching Liz pack up her car and drive off to find a new life in Atlanta left a lump in my throat, but I left here too, sensing God's call to new places, new people, and new challenges. I can hardly wait to get on and off the plane today on our way home.


At 5:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don & Martha, how strange it was to have just told about the meaning you brought to Salem for me while I was at MOPS bible study last Friday, when Christi Pease (at my table) said "what a coincidence that Don & Martha are walking up to church!" Linda Holmberg mentioned that maybe you were officiating the wedding. I wanted to run out of Bible study, and greet you and chat, since I knew we'd be out of town over the weekend, and not able to attend church. I hope you were blessed and welcomed by many familiar faces.
I definitely still miss you, but am glad when you mention your parents, as I've been curious to know how they are doing. Your parents were important to my grandparents, in Omaha, NE. What paths God blesses us with as we go thru life. I missed not seeing you, but am glad for this connection to still "chat" with you. Blessings on you all!
Ellyn Erickson & clan, Blaine, MN

At 11:18 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

thanks Ellen.

At 11:45 AM , Anonymous Ellyn Erickson said...

do you still remember me & my family? :)


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