I'm in the office early getting ready for worship at the nursing home. This is my first time doing this here, and actually my first time in FOREVER - - meaning since high school - - doing worship in a setting like this. We didn't participate in anything similar in my last call, so while I did occasion visits to members and communion with them, I never organized a worship service.
This nursing home actually gives you a little outline that the residents are used to. It's nice because it means I have something to start with, and I can be sure of where they will participate. They have their own little hymnbook with all the old favorites. I'm not to keen on getting up there and doing a full "sermon", so I'm trying to put together a little conversation/devotion/meditation. I don't know how well they will participate and join in to answer questions asked, but I'm hoping for the best. I'm going to be sure I have my own stories/answers to fill in if I don't get any takers.
This whole experience is like coming full circle for me, or maybe half circle. I guess full circle will be when I'm the one IN the nursing home. When I was in high school I used to go with my pastor (our associate pastor at the church) to lead nursing home worships on 5th Sundays. So, we didn't go every month, but we went several times a year. It was open to anyone who would come, but 9 times out of 10 it was just the two of us. Other times his wife and young daughters would come.
How did I not know even then that I was being called to ministry? What high schooler just gives an afternoon to go worship with nursing home residents? I was scared to death half the time. It smelled funny. The people couldn't hear. Some didn't know where they were, who we were, or what we were doing, but they came anyway. One lady always insisted on being wheeled to the front row, and wouldn't take a hymnal (I don't think she could see if well enough anyway). She said, "I don't need that. My husband was a Baptist preacher. I know all the songs." She did. At least she new the 1st verse of all those songs. We'd do 4 verses of "Amazing Grace" and she'd sing the 1st verse 4 times. "How Great Thou Art" "Great is Thy Faithfulness" "Blessed Assurance" All the old favorites. It was awesome. She made me so happy!
I think we'll sing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" this morning. It was her favorite, and I know I won't be able to think of anyone else while I'm in worship. The Baptist preacher's wife. She was probably the first person to point out my call from God and I didn't have a clue. I don't even know her name. I give thanks that God does!